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Rating:Lawson Sets a Date, Ned Needs a Successor Not Rated 3.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lawson Sets a Date, Ned Needs a Successor

News summary by MFWire's editors

Rodger Lawson is retiring from his post as Fidelity's president at the end of the first quarter. Lawson informed Fidelity employees of his plans in a letter on Wednesday (see the complete letter below).

Rodger Lawson

Fidelity has yet to name a successor. However, the WSJ names his daughter Abigail P. Johnson, who heads Fidelity's Personal and Workplace Investing group and Jacques Perold, the firm's asset management head, as being on the bench of possible replacements.

Additional potential successors include Kathy Murphy, who previously headed ING's defined contribution business and currently runs Fidelity's personal investing unit and Michael Wilens, who moved from head of asset management to Fidelity's workplace investing business late last year.

The decision by the 63-year-old Lawson to set a retirement date is not a surprise.

"I told you many months ago that one day in the not-too-distant future I'd step down as president of Fidelity, but stay on in some capacity at the company," Lawson wrote. "I would like everyone to know that I feel that the time is here."

"Therefore, effective at the end of the first quarter, I plan to retire as Fidelity's president. I will, however, remain a Fidelity employee and continue to be active as an advisor to the chairman, the Board and the management team on an ongoing basis," he added.

An industry source told The MFWire that Lawson had wanted to depart Fidelity in January of last year.

Lawson rejoined Fidelity in July 2007. In his first tour of duty, from 1985 to 1991, Lawson was a managing director and CEO for Fidelity's retail business. Between 1996 and 2007 he worked for Prudential, where he held a number of executive positions, including vice chairman for Pru's asset management arm and executive vice resident for international investments and Prudential Financial. He was also president and CEO at VanEck Global from April 1994 to June 1996.

January 20, 2010

Dear Fidelity Colleagues:

Before 2009 fades too far into the past, I want to thank everyone for their contributions to the successes of Fidelity Investments in 2009. In extraordinarily complex and challenging times you have achieved excellent business and fund performance results as well as highly competitive financial returns.

This has been an exceptional feat, and while we all should be proud of 2009's achievements, we also should remember that we have benefitted significantly from the moves we made in 2007 and 2008. The creation of PWI, the growth of our Institutional businesses, the integrated leadership of Asset Management as well as the productivity focus of the Transformation project have created a much more market-competitive Fidelity and added significantly to our strengthened performance.

All of these steps helped ready us for a challenging financial world. Today, Fidelity feels to me like it has emerged from the economic firestorm like tempered steel better and stronger than ever to withstand whatever comes our way. We have tremendous associates, a strong and cohesive management team, solid financial resources, a clear strategic direction and a brand respected by all.

As a result, I feel Fidelity is exceptionally well-positioned for the future.

With this in mind, I want to share with you my personal plans. I told you many months ago that one day in the not-too-distant future I'd step down as president of Fidelity, but stay on in some capacity at the company. I would like everyone to know that I feel that the time is here.

Therefore, effective at the end of the first quarter, I plan to retire as Fidelity's president. I will, however, remain a Fidelity employee and continue to be active as an advisor to the chairman, the Board and the management team on an ongoing basis. I look forward to that new role and I expect that many of you will continue to encounter me across the company in the future. Leadership of Fidelity remains in the hands of our chairman and the senior executive team.

Finally, I would like everyone to know how pleased I am to have had the opportunity to lead Fidelity Investments during this period. I'm proud of the way everyone here has responded so well in typical Fidelity fashion to the challenges of these past three years. Thank you all again. It has been a privilege to work with you and a memory I will always cherish.

With that, as always, my very best wishes to everyone.

Sincerely,

Rodger Lawson 

Edited by: Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief


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