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Friday, June 26, 2009

Fidelity Scoffs at Lawson Rumors

News summary by MFWire's editors

Just a silly rumor? That is what some are calling the latest gossip making its way across the fund industry grape vine. It seems that some are speculating -- and the MFWire has heard the speculation directly from industry sources -- that there will be changes at the top at Fidelity. On Friday, the Boston Business Journal put the speculation into print, along with an on-the-record debunking by the press people at the Boston Behemoth.

The paper writes that Rodger Lawson "has the full support of his boss, Fidelity Chairman Ned Johnson, as rumors persist that Lawson is on his way out of the Boston mutual fund giant less than two years after taking the job."

The paper also quotes Fidelity spokesperson Anne Crowley as affirming that: "He [Lawson] has the full confidence of Ned Johnson. Crowley confirmed that such a rumor has endured for "weeks," but said the idea that Lawson is on his way out as president is "just not true."

Crowley repeated essentially the same words to the MFWire.

Meanwhile, Fidelity alumni have told the MFWire that the Johnsons are preparing to make a shuffle in its top ranks, but that any changes would likely not happen until next year. Those sources also confirm that Lawson retains his full authority at the moment (which is the best that any executive can ever claim).

If change does happen in 2010, the candidate with an inside track to take an elevated post is Kathy Murphy, the current head of Fidelity Personal Investing unit who joined the Boston Behemoth at the start of the year from ING. Murphy has the support of Abby Johnson, say the alumni sources. 

Edited by: Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

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