Art

Edward C. ‘Ned’ Johnson III, CEO of Fidelity Investments and art collector, 91

Edward C. 'Ned' Johnson III, CEO of Fidelity Investments and art collector, 91

WELLINGTON, FL. – Edward Crosby “Ned” Johnson III, died Wednesday, March 23 at his home in Wellington at the age of 91. The news was announced by his daughter, Abigail Johnson, the current president and CEO of Fidelity Investments, via LinkedIn. He was described by her as loving “his family, colleagues, work, scholarship, art and antiques, tennis, skiing, sailing, history and a good debate. He could be counted on to have a contrary point of view on just about anything. He will be missed by many. »

No cause of death was given.

Born June 29, 1930 in Boston, he grew up in Milton; his mother, Elsie, was a homemaker and his father, Edward C. Johnson II, was the 1949 founder of Fidelity Investments, which Ned would eventually take over.

Johnson attended preparatory school at Milton Academy and Tabor Academy, eventually earning a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College in 1954. He joined Fidelity Investments as a research analyst in 1957, after a brief stint in the U.S. Army . In 1960 Johnson became the portfolio manager of the Fidelity Trend Fund and managed the Fidelity Magellan Fund from 1963 to 1977. From 1972 to 1977 he was president and served as president and chief executive officer from 1977 until his retired in 2016. He oversaw the company’s transformation from a small regional mutual fund company to one of the largest and most diversified financial services companies in the world. Through his vision of making investing products and services accessible and affordable to the average American, he has helped spur the explosive growth of personal investing over the past four decades.

At the time of his death, Forbes estimated his net worth at $10.1 billion, earning him the ranking of the 67th richest person in the United States.

The Johnson family had long been quiet philanthropists in the Boston art world; The Edward C. Johnson Fund, a $334 million charitable fund established in 1964, contributes to institutions in the Boston area and beyond, with an emphasis on museums, historical societies, medical institutions and some youth programs. It also supports visual arts, historic preservation, higher education, elementary and secondary schools, and environmental organizations.

According to an article of August 22, 2015 in the boston globe, Johnson “quietly built up one of New England’s most valuable art collections”, as well as acquired works for Boston-area museums. He purchased Benjamin West’s “Devout Men Taking the Body of Saint Stephen” from an English church for $2.85 million and donated it to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, in honor of outgoing director Malcolm Rogers. One of his best-known acquisitions is the historic $16.8 million Chinese Yin Yu Tang House that had been dismantled in China and rebuilt at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass.

Lynda Roscoe Hartigan, Executive Director and Managing Director of Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo of the Peabody Essex Museum said: “Ned Johnson was a Medici man. His wide-ranging love and support for art, culture and history has had an invaluable impact, including at the Peabody Essex Museum. We are extremely grateful to him for his confidence in our museum as an agent of change. His generosity enriched many areas of our collection, and he played such an important role in moving and rebuilding Yin Yu Tang, a Qing Dynasty Chinese merchant house, to the museum. His commitment to cultural exchange was inspiring.

Johnson loaned his art to the public through his Brookfield, Massachusetts-based Brookfield Arts Foundation, which had assets of $262 million as of 2013. In addition to fine art, Johnson’s collection focused on Asian artwork and American furniture and decorative arts. .

Johnson and his wife, Elizabeth B. “Lillie” Johnson, were trustees of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Winterthur Museum, located outside Wilmington, Del. The couple also lived in Boston.

Johnson is survived by his wife, daughters Abigail and Elizabeth, and son, Edward Johnson IV, as well as seven grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are private. A memorial service will be announced at a later date.