Abigail P. Johnson has trimmed her voting stake in Boston fund giant Fidelity Investments, a move that has raised speculation over whether she remains next in line to lead the family firm.
Johnson has been the largest shareholder in Fidelity, a privately held firm, for a decade, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. Her 21% stake is more than double that of her father, Fidelity chairman and chief executive Edward C. Johnson III. Holdings of other family members had pegged the Johnson stake at 49%.
Abigail Johnson, 43, has reportedly placed the shares in a trust that would benefit future Johnson family members. But taken with her recent departure form the firm headquarters in Boston to lead Fidelity Employer Services in suburban Marlborough, Mass., the firm's struggles with scandal and eroding market share in its money management unit, which she most previously directed, questions are now circulating that she may not be next in line at the head of the table.
"The timing of it is enough to raise my eyebrows a little bit," said Christopher Traulson, a senior analyst with Morningstar in Chicago. "If she is indeed ceding voting stock in a major way, it seems to be at odds with the idea of becoming CEO one day."
Abigail Johnson, however, remains one of six members on the Fidelity board of directors and is still a trustee on each of its 300 mutual funds.
Fidelity declined to comment on the succession plan, the WSJ said.
The staff of Money Management Executive ("MME") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MME, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.