Abigail Johnson: Profile

Abigail Johnson is the world’s seventh-wealthiest woman, with a fortune estimated at $17 billion. Yet she is known to fly commercial when it’s more convenient and to sometimes cool her heels at the car rental counter with the rest of us. Sometimes dubbed “the heiress without airs”, Abigail has worked her way up to the president and chief executive officer of American investment firm Fidelity Investments  and chairman of its international sister company Fidelity International . 

She patiently worked at Fidelity for over 26 years, starting just after high school, taking orders from customers on the phone. After graduating from Harvard Business SchoolAbigail started as an analyst at Fidelity in 1988 when she dove into managing a succession of mutual funds from the Industrial Equipment Portfolio to the diversified Trend Fund. After 26 years of hard work and consistently achieving results,  her father decided that, at 52, she was finally ready to run the Boston firm his father created in 1946.

Abigail Johnson

Like her father, she is known as disciplined and has a firm grasp of its many business lines. Many of her colleagues often mention that she’s “down to earth”. Former classmates from Abigail Johnson’s Harvard Business School class of 1988 recall her as bright, articulate, and not keen on drawing attention to herself. Abigail Johnson is an early riser who routinely heads to work by 6 a.m. She grew up in an active family that often took to the ski slopes.

Philanthropy is important to Abigail Johnson. Abigail and her family control one of the city’s largest philanthropic fortunes, but unlike other big-givers don’t put their names on building wings. Abigail will sometimes attend a few fundraising events for the Museum of Fine Arts, where Abigail is an overseer. She will also often volunteer anonymously to serve dinner at the Pine Street Inn homeless shelter. To those who know Abigail Johnson and her family, this is not surprising “the whole family’s like that, if you looked up ‘New England modesty’ in the dictionary, their pictures would be there.

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