Vanguard announced tonight that CEO and Chairman Tim Buckley will retire at the end of the year. His replacement will be, well, Vanguard doesn’t know just yet.

However, Vanguard’s current CIO, Greg Davis, was promoted to President, so he’s clearly in the running for the top spot.

Buckley has worked at Vanguard for over three decades—famously joining the firm in 1991 as Jack Bogle’s (Vanguard’s founder) research assistant. Before stepping into the CEO role, Buckley was Vanguard's CIO and President.

From my perch, this transition doesn't look as planned as past successions. When then-CEO and Chairman Bill McNabb announced his retirement in July 2017, Vanguard was ready to name Buckley his successor.

Buckley also had a transition period of sorts as he started as CEO in January 2018 and only became chairman in January 2019. 

But now ... Buckley’s announced he’s stepping down from the CEO and chairman roles at the end of the year, and the board has only "initiated a comprehensive process to select a new CEO." As I said, Davis stepping into the president role signals his name is in the mix, but at the moment, we don’t know who will be leading our firm in 2025. (As shareholder-owners, it is our firm, right?)

Of course, I want Vanguard to put in the time and energy to find and name the “right” successor. But this is (only) Buckley’s seventh year as CEO, and he’ll be turning (only) 55 in April ... maybe his decision to retire caught Vanguard by surprise?

Was Buckley’s time as CEO a success?

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