Abigail Johnson is the new chief executive officer of Fidelity Investments, a company that her grandfather created in 1946.
She spent over two decades working at the Boston investment giant, starting as a stock analyst and working her way up in every major division.
She will be replacing her father, Edward “Ned” C. Johnson III, as CEO of the second-largest mutual fund manager in the world. Fidelity has over 41,000 employees and reported $13.6 billion in revenue last year.
Her father transformed the money manager into being the largest administrator of 401(k) retirement plans. Ned Johnson, who is 84 and reported to be in good health, will remain as the chairman of the firm he was in charge of for decades.
It is unlikely that she will make any big changes concerning the focus and goals of the firm.
In a recent interview, an editor at newsletter Fidelity Monitor & Insight, John Bonnanzio, said:
“It’s just another step in a long-planned move to ultimately have Abby take control over a company her grandfather founded. It is hard to picture a tremendous change as result of this.”
Fidelity has had trouble in growing its actively managed stock funds, with many investors opting for exchange-traded funds instead.
However, the firm is working on being more active in ETFs by partnering with other firms (including BlackRock) to sell ETFs on its trading platform.
Abigail Johnson has not said anything so far about what she will do to revive the firm’s fund business.
She is now the highest-ranking woman in the mutual fund industry, in charge of more than $2 trillion in client money.
Abigail owns nearly half of the family’s shares in Fidelity’s holding company, FMR LLC – of which the family has a 49 percent stake. This makes Abigail the seventh-wealthiest woman in the world, worth $17.3 billion, according to Forbes.
Abigail graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1988.
In 2001 Abigail was appointed as president of the firm’s asset management business and four years later she ran the retirement unit.
She was appointed president of Fidelity’s holding company a year ago – a title she will keep. This was a signal to many analysts that she would be the one to go on and lead the family-operated business.