President and CEO, Fidelity Investments
Abigail Johnson is now in charge of the family business. Her father, Edward "Ned" Johnson 3rd, announced last year that she was succeeding him as chief executive of the mutual fund giant — a promotion that was long expected but still generated speculation about the direction of the company.
The handoff has been a smooth one; Moody's Investors Service gave Boston-based Fidelity generally high marks for its leadership changes. While Moody's wasn't as high on the company's profitability and financial flexibility, the overall outlook was for near-term stability, with analysts seeing Johnson, 53, as unlikely to deviate from Fidelity's longtime strategic direction.
Fidelity is America's second-largest mutual fund company, behind Vanguard Group, with nearly $2 trillion in assets under management. And Johnson, with a fortune of about $17 billion, is estimated to be the world's seventh-richest woman. Forbes also ranked her No. 19 among the world's 100 most powerful women — ahead of Beyonce (No. 21).
One thing that hasn't changed with Johnson's new responsibilities is her well-documented shunning of the limelight — a trait she has in common with her father. She's seldom quoted in the media, even when events shine attention on her, as they did in April. A Securities and Exchange Commission filing showed that Johnson had used some of her personal fortune to fund the initial public offerings of several companies involved in oncology work. Johnson has declined to comment publicly about it, and Fidelity has said the investments were personal.
Johnson has hardly been silent on the role of women in her industry, though. "There are a lot of big legacy organizations with a lot of traditions that tend to be built around men, and that does make it harder for women, I think, compared to other industries," Johnson said in a 2013 video released by Fidelity.
But she stressed that women often are exceptionally well suited for positions like hers. "There are a lot of aspects of finance that I think can be very good for women," she said. "In particular the area that I started out in — investment management — I think is a terrific career for women."