Vanguard’s Got a Succession Plan, Shouldn’t You?

CEO McNabb will exit in January

401k, succession plan, retirement, VanguardIt's really not complicated.

A profession dedicated to retirement planning for others is notoriously awful at doing it for themselves.

“The cobbler’s children have no shoes” is a cliché mentioned ad nauseum, and yet it appears to do little in the way of motivating 401k advisors to solve for succession planning.

Maybe a hyper-successful company like Vanguard will spur them to act.

On Thursday, the firm’s board of directors elected chief investment officer Tim Buckley as president and director of Vanguard and announced plans for him to succeed Bill McNabb as CEO.

McNabb will exit on January 1, 2018.

Under the planned succession, Buckley, 48, will become the firm’s fourth CEO since its founding in 1975. McNabb, 60, who has served as Vanguard’s CEO since 2008, will remain as chairman of the board.

Greg Davis, 46, global head of Vanguard’s Fixed Income Group, assumes the position of chief investment officer.

“As the firm continues to grow, evolve and expand globally, it is the right time for a new leader and the board is unanimous in its belief that Tim Buckley is the ideal next chief executive for Vanguard,” McNabb said of his departure. “I have worked alongside Tim for many years and he brings a strong passion for serving Vanguard clients and crew, a global mindset, and significant leadership experience in all facets of our operations.”

Buckley joined Vanguard in 1991 as assistant to John Bogle, the firm’s legendary founder. He was elected as a principal of the firm in 1998 and subsequently held senior leadership roles in two divisions, including as chief information officer and head of Vanguard’s Information Technology Division from 2001 to 2006, and head of Vanguard’s Retail Investor Group from 2006 to 2012.

Vanguard’s mutual structure and client-focused culture serve as the foundation for everything we do, and I am honored to lead this great organization into its next chapter,” Buckley said. “Thanks to Bill’s strong leadership over the past ten years, Vanguard is well-positioned to continue helping clients achieve investment success. I look forward to continuing to work closely with Bill over the next six months as I transition to my new role.”

McNabb joined Vanguard in June 1986 and became a member of Vanguard’s senior leadership team in 1995 as head of Vanguard’s Institutional Investor Group. He was named CEO in 2008 and chairman in 2009.

As chief investment officer, Davis assumes oversight responsibility for more than $3.8 trillion managed by Vanguard’s Fixed Income, Equity Index, and Quantitative Equity Groups.

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