Envestnet founder, Chairman and CEO Judson Bergman, 62, and his wife Mary Miller, 57, were killed early Thursday in a car crash in San Francisco, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Bergman and his wife were in a taxi that was hit by an impaired motorist driving the wrong direction on Highway 101. Both that individual, 34-year-old Emilie Ross, and taxi driver Berkant Ahmed, 42, also died in the accident.
Envestnet said early Friday that it has appointed Bill Crager, president of Envestnet and head of Envestnet Wealth Solutions, as its interim CEO. Bergman had led the Chicago-based platform provider since its founding in 1999.
“On behalf of our board of directors, management team and employees, we extend our deepest sympathies to Jud and Mary’s family. As Envestnet’s founder, Jud was a remarkable leader whose vision, brilliance and drive built the foundation for Envestnet’s success,” the company said in a statement.
Crager has served as Envestnet’s president since 2002. The company’s board also appointed Ross Chapin, its lead independent director, as interim chairman.
“We have all experienced a great loss at Envestnet,” according to Chapin. “While it is difficult to imagine anyone replacing Jud’s vision and presence, we have the utmost confidence in the ability of his colleague, co-founder and dear friend, Bill Crager, to carry on in Jud’s place.
“Bill and Jud worked closely over the last 20 years and have built a resilient team that will see us through these dark days,” Chapin added. “Jud was a giant as a businessman and human being. We will miss him immensely.”
“The industry lost a great one today,” tweeted Tom Bradley, the former head of TD Ameritrade Institutional, on Friday. “Early 2000’s, I told Jud Bergman “We really like your platform but we need assurances that you’ll make it.” Jud responded with complete confidence, “Oh we’ll make it Tom, take my word for it we’ll make it.” We signed and they sure made it.”
Riskalyze CEO Aaron Klein tweeted: “I’ll have more to say tomorrow morning on the #FISummit stage, but our deepest condolences go out to the Envestnet family. Jud Bergman’s vision and innovation forever changed the face of the financial services industry, and will continue to do so for years to come.”
“Shocked and terribly saddened by the death of @ENVintel CEO Jud Bergman. Deepest condolences to his family and everyone at Envestnet. A true mensch. Heartbreaking,” said Gavin Spitzner, head of Wealth Consulting Partners, on Twitter.
Popular blogger Michael Kitces tweeted: “I’m just stunned. What a tragedy. Was in a taxi with his wife and they were struck by another car driving the wrong way down the highway. :( You will be missed, Jud. :(”
According to Envestnet, Bergman — a native Minnesotan — studied English at Wheaton College and then got an MBA from Columbia University.
He led Nuveen Investments’ product and corporate development work, focusing on its closed-end fund business, and its separately managed accounts business before serving as Nuveen’s managing director for mutual funds and on its Investment Management Committee.
Bergman received and Entrepreneur of the Year award from Ernst and Young. He also was on the Field Museum’s board of trustees.
Today, Envestnet’s technology is used by over 88,000 advisors working with $2.6 trillion in assets.
In February, the firm announced plans to purchase PortfolioCenter management and reporting technology from Charles Schwab. This news was followed by the March announcement that it would buy PIETech, which includes the popular MoneyGuidePro financial planning tools, for about $500 million.
“Envestnet’s acquisition of MoneyGuidePro is a textbook bold move from Jud Bergman,” Spitzner said at the time.
”From the strategic perspective, the MoneyGuidePro deal makes a ton of sense for Envestnet,” said popular tech blogger and advisor Michael Kitces on Twitter in March. ”MGP has a massive client base, including a huge overlap with Envestnet’s own broker-dealer enterprises. It lets Envestnet expand market share and wallet share where it already is.”
According to Chicago Crain’s Business, Bergman had four children with his first wife Susan, who died of brain cancer in 2006; they were married 27 years. His second wife, Miller, had three children from an earlier marriage.