UPDATE 1-Fidelity names insider to run asset management division

Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:35pm EST

(Adds details about Morrison's background, analyst comment)

By Tim McLaughlin and Ross Kerber

BOSTON Feb 20 (Reuters) - Fidelity Investments, the second-largest U.S. mutual fund company, said on Thursday that its fixed-income chief will lead the Boston firm's $1.9 trillion asset management division.

With Charles Morrison as the new president of the unit, Fidelity is betting on an Ivy League-educated, homegrown talent who has overseen a robust expansion of the company's bond division.

Fidelity has had mixed results picking outsiders to run major divisions at a company controlled by the family of Chairman Edward "Ned" Johnson III.

"This really marks a change from a decade-old pattern of hiring senior management from outside," said James Lowell, editor of fidelityinvestor.com, which follows the company's products.

Morrison, 53, succeeds Ronald O'Hanley, who last month announced his plans to leave Fidelity after less than four years on the job.

Morrison is a Fidelity veteran, joining the company as a corporate bond analyst in 1987. He has a bachelor's degree in economics from Dartmouth College and a master's degree in business administration from Harvard Business School.

"Charlie's an excellent pick," Lowell said. "The key was someone who understands the culture and clients as well as managers and management deeply."

O'Hanley, who came from Bank of New York Mellon Corp, had his power pared when Ned Johnson gave more responsibility to his daughter, Abigail Johnson.

Morrison will report to her.

The new job means Morrison will work in downtown Boston, a change from his past role in New Hampshire, where bears were known to forage for food near the bond division's headquarters.

Morrison was not available for comment because he was traveling in London, Fidelity spokesman Jeff Cathie said. (Reporting By Tim McLaughlin; Editing by Franklin Paul and Amanda Kwan)

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