"Most powerful" and "low profile" are descriptors that rarely go together, but both describe Abigail Johnson well.
Johnson, president of FMR, the parent company of Fidelity Investments, frequently is called the most influential woman in finance especially since being elevated to her current post in September 2013. She's the front-runner to succeed her father, Edward "Ned" Johnson III, 84, as CEO of the privately owned mutual fund giant. And she's already No. 23 on Forbes' list of America's richest people. Yet she is steadfastly media-shy famous for being not too famous.
Johnson, who has spent 26 years with the Boston company founded by her grandfather in 1946, now holds responsibility for all aspects of Fidelity's financial services businesses, corporate operations and diversified investments. Revenue grew 7% last year, to $13.6 billion, but she is intent on doing better. "We're sharpening our focus on how we can engage with the investors of the future, more and more of whom will be women," she says in Fidelity's 2013 shareholder update. "Our research shows many lack confidence in their ability to make financial decisions, particularly younger women. Yet, at the same time, women are becoming increasingly powerful in our economy controlling more wealth, often out-earning their spouses, and making more retirement decisions. We want to win their respect, earn their loyalty, and be their financial services company of choice."