For nearly a year rumors that Abby Johnson is ill -- perhaps with cancer -- have wafted through the fund industry. This morning, Fortune
became the first publisher to cross the line and make those rumors public.
Those rumors over the past year, which were widespread enough that even a spokesperson at a Fidelity rival had heard of them, included gossip that Abby was missing work for treatments and earlier this year that she had started wearing a wig. When The MFWire
contacted Fidelity about the rumors last winter, a spokesperson told our reporter that she would not comment on the rumors. The spokesperson also added: "You're not going to print that, are you?"
We didn't, but Fortune has.
After apologizing that Abby's health would "not be Fortune's business" except for the recent "talent drain" at the mutual fund firm, reporter Patricia Sellers continues on:
Fidelity won't comment on Abby's health. But over the past year, say several executives who have worked with her, she has appeared to have undergone medical treatment and lost her hair -- as well as weight from her already slim frame. Today she no longer wears a wig; her hair has grown back and she looks healthy. In keeping with her stoic reputation, she has rarely missed work. But since she has not uttered a word about her health, not even to senior colleagues, no one knows if there was even an illness.
Fortune did not add a lot to the rumor mill. The article notes that Abby appears healthy and offers up an unrelated tidbit that Eric Schwartz, the former head of Goldman Sachs' investment management business, has received "overtures" from Fidelity. The source on the Schwartz report is the "buzz from Boston to New York."
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