BOSTON Oct 4 In her first public appearance
since being named the top executive of all of Fidelity
Investments' key businesses, Abigail Johnson talked about bears,
the type with four legs, and why she loves New England.
Johnson, 50, did not talk about the direction of Fidelity or
any future plans for the company in a short speech at a dinner
on Thursday sponsored by the New England Council.
The regional business group honored Johnson as part of its
annual "New Englander of the Year" awards at the Seaport
Hotel/World Trade Center in Boston.
"I was raised to believe that New England is the best place
on the planet," Johnson said.
It was her first public appearance since Fidelity in August
promoted her to run all of the company's main businesses.
Johnson reports to her 82-year-old father, Edward C. Johnson
III, Boston-based Fidelity's chairman and chief executive since
1977. He did not attend the ceremony.
Fidelity manages $1.6 trillion in assets and is the
second-largest U.S. mutual fund company behind Vanguard Group.
Fidelity's stock mutual funds have been hurt by investors
pulling money out of the investments while showing preference
for exchange-traded funds and other passive investments.
But on Thursday night, Johnson said it was a time to
celebrate New England. She talked, for example, about how New
England has the "best plants, the best grass .. and all that
Johnson told an audience of more than 1,000 people how
Fidelity's fixed-income operations in New Hampshire are world
class and visited by powerhouse Wall Street firms and families
of bears who like to "nibble on goodies in the woods."