Getting to Know a Publicity-Shy Fundster Titan
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Thursday, August 09, 2018

Getting to Know a Publicity-Shy Fundster Titan

"She's leading as opposed to talking about it. She's leading by example."

That comment about Fidelity [profile] CEO Abby Johnson, shared by Suffolk Construction CEO John Fish (a longtime Johnson acquaintenance), is one of many tidbits in Boston magazine's Johnson profile, entitled "Who's Afraid of Abby Johnson?". The article is a must-read for avid watchers of Fidelity and the woman that runs it.

Boston's piece paints a familiar picture of Johnson, as a publicity-shy, "pathologically private" leader who keeps a low profile and follows her father's pattern of anonymous generosity. The article highlights Fidelity's business shifts under Johnson (towards index funds, advice and brokerage, and even bitcoin and blockchain) as well as Johnson's take on the #MeToo fight. And there's even a hint at a possible eventual successor for Johnson: Julia McKown, a Tufts alumna who is in Fidelity's emerging leaders program and is one of Johnson's two daughters. (Johnson is 56, and her dad didn't pass the reins until he was 84, so it could be a while before McKown has her shot.)

There are also personal glimpses, including: how Johnson and her husband, healthcare entrepreneur Christopher McKown, own a house near Brant Point Lighthouse on Nantucket; how she and McKown met; where she went to school; how she connected with the six-year-old daughter of the owners of the Red Sox and the Boston Globe; how she asked for journalistic mercy in her first interview; and how she serves dinner at the Pine Street Inn homeless shelter.

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