Those who know her describe Abigail Johnson as steely and extremely serious, qualities that come across in photographs: Whippet-thin, she’s almost always wearing glasses, her fine features and blue eyes rarely revealing more than a slight smile. An heiress to a Boston family fortune—with a personal net worth estimated by the Bloomberg Billionaires index at $10 billion—she’s one of the world’s richest women. She’s also one of the most driven and hardworking. In her 24 years at Fidelity Investments, the mutual fund company founded by her grandfather, Johnson worked through two pregnancies and, according to press reports, a serious illness in 2007 that she never discussed with her colleagues.
Through a spokesman, Johnson declined to comment for this piece. Silence has been her mode for years. She even said little when she was named president of Fidelity Investments Financial Services in August, making her second in command at the $3.8 trillion mutual fund company, the nation’s second largest. She reports to her father, Fidelity Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Edward “Ned” Johnson III, and her elevation to the No. 2 position arguably makes Abby—nobody calls her Abigail—the most powerful woman in finance.