Yes, Ned Johnson
, the famously shy builder of Fidelity Investments
], did show last night in Boston for his induction into the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce's Academy of Distinguished Bostonians. His daughter Abigail also made an appearance on stage with what the papers called a "rousing tribute." The rare Johnson father-daughter sightings were covered by both major Boston papers and Reuters
All of the coverage picked up on Abby's introductory remarks. She described her father as a "man consumed with passion and endless energy for fixing things," reported the Globe
. That paper also quoted retiremed Magellan
PM Peter Lynch as saying that Ned made Steve Jobs "look like he was asleep."
The Steve Jobs comparison was raised by Walter Isaacson who was the keynote speaker for the evening. Isaacson is the author of the recently authorized biography of Apple founder Steve Jobs.
Jobs had "a spiritual sense that our worth ... is not what we take out of this world, but it comes from what we put back into this world," the Herald
reported Isaacson as saying. "This is so true of the Johnson family."
Lynch later added that Ned "makes Steve Jobs look like he was asleep."
The paper also sighted Putnam CEO Bob Reynolds
as "one of the first to rise" when Ned was honored. Reynolds, of course, was one of the authors of Fidelity's dominating 401(k) plan business. State Street Corp CEO Jay Hooley
was also in the attendance, according to reports, as was Boston Mayor Tom Menino
account provides the most details about Abby and Ned. It reports that "Johnson's handshake was firm, but he seemed more frail than in recent years."
It also recounts Abby's story of how she learned the ins and outs of the mutual fund business at the family dinner table during the 1970s.
"The telephone would ring and someone would leap to get it. The call would invariably be for my father," Reuters
reports her as saying. It adds that she related how her father would "always take the call" and spend "15 minutes to 20 minutes hearing about a Fidelity customer's problem."
A man of detail, Ned would ensure he had the customer's name, how it was spelled and even the account number before signing off.
Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief
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