Bogle would eventually rise to the title of executive vice president of Wellington Management. While in this position Bogle initiated the company's 1966 merger with Thorndike, Doran, Paine & Lewis, Inc. from Boston. In 1967, the same year that Bogle became the CEO of the merged firm, he suffered a heart attack that required a pacemaker be implanted.
With the new merger, Wellington Management drifted away from its traditionally conservative style, much to the dislike of original members of the firm. In 1969, amid internal turmoil and a stock market tumble, the company's assets slumped from $2.7 billion to $2.2 billion. In 1970, Walter Morgan retired and Bogle was on the brink of resignation. In 1974, a board of directors fired Bogle and planted the early seeds for his future success.
In a phoenixlike rebirth, Bogle managed to bounce back with The Vanguard Group. With this new endeavor, Bogle got back to basics. Besides regaining focus on what is best for the individual investor, he returned to his Princeton thesis, which was on the topic of mutual funds.
At that time, the idea of a mutual fund was beyond the realm of the private investor. Bogle, however, felt differently. While he has never claimed index funds as being his own concept, there is little question that Vanguard put the instruments that were once solely in the domain of business pension funds into the hands of the private investors.