Abigail Johnson named CEO of Fidelity

CNBC with Reuters
Abigail Johnson
Essdras M Suarez | The Boston Globe | Getty Images

Abigail Johnson has taken another big step toward being the next leader of Fidelity Investments after the company said she will add the title of chief executive to her duties.

Johnson, 52, will continue to report to her 84-year-old father, Edward C. Johnson III, Boston-based Fidelity's chairman. The elder Johnson had been chairman and CEO of the company since taking over from his father in 1977. The announcement was contained in a memo distributed on Monday to employees.

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"Abby Johnson has agreed to become Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity, reflecting a further step forward in our leadership succession plan. Abby will retain her role of President and I will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board," Ned Johnson wrote the internal memo. "Along with our senior team, we will work together to strengthen Fidelity's industry leadership and to innovate in ways that enhance the experience we provide to our customers."

According to her corporate biography, Abigail Johnson began her tenure at the company as an equity research analyst in 1988. She has held several leaderships positions including, most recently, heading Fidelity's retail, workplace, and institutional businesses.

Fidelity is the second-largest U.S. mutual fund company behind Vanguard Group. It runs a stable of actively managed mutual funds including the $100 billion-plus Contrafund .