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World's richest women

business Updated: Aug 20, 2009 15:08 IST

It looks like billionaire Abigail Johnson is moving closer to the Fidelity throne.

This month the daughter of Edward "Ned" Johnson III, lord of the world's largest mutual fund company, took charge of the board governing the company's fixed-income and asset-allocation funds. She now oversees 161 funds with more than $650 billion in assets.

Many Fidelity watchers believed "Abby" fell out of contention for the top spot at the company after her father moved her from the venerable mutual fund division to the more mundane retirement and retail group in 2005. (Others saw that move as an opportunity for her to understand another part of the family business.) Johnson will continue to run the retail group--the firm's largest division with $1.3 trillion in customer assets--as she takes on her new responsibilities.

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A spokesman for Fidelity would not comment on the company's succession plans. He said the move was the logical next step in its strategy to split its board of trustees in half, and Ned Johnson has no plans of retiring.

Like the majority of the female billionaires in the world, Johnson inherited her fortune--yet still holds tremendous sway over her company. Today she's worth an estimated $8.5 billion, ranking her eighth on the new Forbes list of the world's richest women.

Topping the list is Christy Walton, who is worth $20 billion. Walton is the widow of Wal-Mart ( WMT - news - people ) scion John Walton, who died in a plane crash in 2005. Right behind her is Alice Walton, worth $19.5 billion.

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