Jack Bogle, the founder of the Vanguard Group, passed away yesterday at the age of 89. He was the visionary behind index investing and low fees for investors. Many have sat under the tree which he planted.
I worked at Vanguard briefly in 2002. During my first week there, I was sitting in the cafeteria at lunch and, lo and behold, here walked by Jack Bogle. He looked like any other Vanguard employee, walking to his table with lunch tray in hand. We both had a can of Pepsi Twist and, as he walked by, he said to me, “That’s good stuff, isn’t it?”. That was my only interaction with him and likely my only Pepsi Twist. I didn’t like it. It was an attempt at lemon flavored cola and it didn’t work.
About a year earlier, I was working for a large Wall Street brokerage when I crossed paths with the CEO of the firm. He didn’t have a cold Pepsi, but rather a cold stare. Typical. I heard him mention to his associate that it was time to “reconvene” the meeting they were there for. The only thing I learned from that interaction was a new word: “reconvene”. I stole it. It’s mine now and I think about that jerk every time I use it!
Many people across the world will mourn the loss of an investment icon today. Not me though. Well, not exactly. I’ll be mourning the loss of something rarer still: a true gentleman.