Abigail Johnson, often known as “Abby,” is an American businesswoman and billionaire. As the President and CEO of Fidelity Investments, one of the largest asset management firms globally, she is recognized as one of the most influential women in finance.
Born on December 19, 1961, in Boston, Massachusetts, Abigail Johnson is the granddaughter of Edward C. Johnson II, the founder of Fidelity Investments. Her father, Edward C. Johnson III, later took over the company. She grew up immersed in a financial environment and was instilled with a keen understanding of the investment world from an early age.
Johnson, along with her younger brothers and sisters, was never compelled to be a part of the family enterprise. However, from a young age, she showed a keen interest in her father’s profession.
Johnson attended the all-girls Buckingham Browne & Nichols school in Cambridge, Massachusetts, before earning a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in 1984. Subsequently, she completed her MBA at Harvard Business School in 1988.
She is married and has two children.
Upon completion of her MBA, Johnson began her career at Fidelity Investments, a company her family had founded and run since 1946. She started as an equity portfolio manager and research analyst before rapidly moving up the ranks.
In 1997, Johnson was promoted to an executive role in Fidelity Management & Research (FMR), becoming the President of the company’s mutual fund division. In 2001, she was appointed as the company’s President, a role she held until 2014, when she became the CEO, taking over for her father.
In 2016, Johnson became the Chairman of Fidelity International, broadening her responsibilities to include the company’s international operations. Under her leadership, Fidelity has continued to flourish, managing trillions of dollars in assets and serving millions of individual customers and institutions.
Making her way through a long male-dominated industry, Johnson rose through the ranks and became a top name in investing alongside greats such as Warren Buffet, George Soros, and Michael Bloomberg. Johnson became the wealthiest female investor in the world.
Although Abigail Johnson is one of the world’s richest women, she remains an inconspicuous presence in her hometown of Boston. Even among fellow New Englanders, her recognition is surprisingly scarce. She once joked about not eating out much because she can rarely get a table.
Despite being ranked the sixth most powerful woman in the world by Forbes, Johnson maintains a grounded demeanor. She flies commercials and waits in line at car rental desks just like any ordinary person; she backs arts initiatives and charities, including a youth club, a public radio and TV station, and a homeless shelter in Boston. Occasionally, she even serves meals at the shelter — a testament to the Johnson family’s reputation for both philanthropy and business acumen.
Fidelity, under Johnson’s leadership, is a global operation with 45,000 employees spread across the world. The company’s ethos revolves around making investments available and affordable to the average family. Known as Abby to her staff, she adheres to this philosophy but also brings her own vision for propelling the company forward, guided by her father’s advice: “Always strive to be better. No matter how well you might seem to be doing, your job is never done.”
A significant part of her approach has been to concentrate on millennial and female investors. Her earliest role at Fidelity, while still in high school, was to manage incoming calls. This early encounter offered her valuable insight into the critical role of customer service. Today, she employs a mix of technology and personal understanding to enhance investor engagement with the business.
As of June 2023, Johnson’s net worth is estimated to be around $21 billion, making her one of the wealthiest women in the world. Her wealth primarily stems from her stake in Fidelity Investments, which remains a privately held company.
Throughout her career, Johnson has been recognized for her contributions to the finance industry. Here are some examples:
Abigail Johnson is known for her private nature and typically keeps a low profile, reflecting Fidelity's culture of discretion and privacy.