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Rating:Ned Johnson: Former Fido Chief, and the Most Influential Person At This Museum Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Monday, August 24, 2015

Ned Johnson: Former Fido Chief, and the Most Influential Person At This Museum

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

Even after he passed on the reins to Fidelity [profile], Ned Johnson, 85, continues to quietly gain influence in another field: the arts.

"The most influential person at the MFA [in Boston], hands down, is Ned Johnson," an unnamed "well-informed Boston art collector" tells the Boston Globe.

The article highlights the currently-underway restoration of Benjamin West's giant painting (18'6" by 10'6") of St. Stephen, a painting that Johnson's foundation anonymously bought in England and brought back to Beantown where the MFA folks are preparing it for public display.

That anonymous purchase, and the fact that Ned Johnson's name will be nowhere near the painting when it goes on display, is typical of the billionnaire's approach as portrayed in the article. Indeed, the Globe reports that "no one from the Johnson family foundations or Fidelity" would comment for the story.

The Globe notes that, in 2013 Johnson's Brookfield Arts Foundation's assets grew to $262 million. That same year, the foundation received $48 million from the Johnson family foundation, more than half of what it gave away.

The next generation of the family is involved, too. The paper notes that Edward C. Johnson IV and Christopher McKown, Ned's son and son-in-law (husband to Abby, Ned's daughter and successor atop Fidelity), respectively, were involved in the Peabody Essex's $200-million expansion plans. 

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