Vanguard Founder Jack Bogle's Rise to Success, Wealth and Modesty
For Vanguard’s 83-year-old founder, it’s always been about the greater good. Just spare him the superlatives.
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In 1951, such ideas were those of an idealistic Princeton University student. You won’t find the word “vanguard” anywhere in his senior thesis, but the objectives and values for the company he eventually launched are there. He sent his paper to Princeton alum Walter Morgan, the famed founder of the Wellington Management Company. Morgan hired Bogle immediately after graduation, quickly becoming a mentor.
“He was a lot of what I was not,” Bogle admits. “But he entrusted me. He liked me. When he died (in 1998), others told me that he always said I was the son he never had.”
Bogle became Morgan’s heir apparent as executive vice president at Wellington in 1965. But he was fired as its company president in 1974 after a merger backfired. Retained as president of Wellington Funds, Bogle filed a report proposing three options for fund mutualization. The Wellington board authorized internalization of the fund’s administrative duties. But since Bogle couldn’t use the Wellington name for his new firm, he launched Vanguard.
All these years later, Wall Street hasn’t totally turned its back on Bogle. Some 250 people attended its John C. Bogle Legacy Forum last January. After word got out about the honoree’s favorite food, he was served a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich while being roasted. “It was nice what the people had to say about me,” he says. “It was like being around for my own funeral.”