Abigail Johnson Named to Chair Fidelity Fund Board

Abigail Johnson, daughter of Fidelity Investments Chairman Edward C. Johnson III, was named the new chair of the Fidelity board that oversees its 161 fixed-income and asset-allocated funds.

The Boston Globe reported that Johnson has to be a member of each fund board; she is already trustee and chair for 23 of the funds and is expected to be elected to the remaining boards by July 15. The 161 funds handle about $650 billion of the more than $1.2 trillion managed by Fidelity.

Rumors have swirled on a regular basis in recent years in the financial services community that the younger Johnson was being groomed to replace her father as chair of the entire Boston-based investment company (see “Abigail Johnson Steps Down from Fidelity Board).

Fidelity spokesman Anne Crowley told The Globe the move is aimed at splitting the boards overseeing Fidelity funds and was not related to a succession plan. She noted that Abigail was elected to the new position by the other members of the eight-member board, which is dominated by independent trustees.

The younger Johnson already runs Fidelity’s personal and workplace investing unit, the company’s largest division, and has been vice chairman of FMR’s board for several years, according to the news report.