Star Fidelity manager Tillinghast to take leave

BOSTON (Reuters) - Fidelity Investments fund manager Joel Tillinghast will take time off this fall, leaving the mutual fund giant without one of its top performers over the past decade.

Tillinghast, 53, will take a four-month leave from running the $35 billion Fidelity Low-Priced Stock Fund <FLPSX.O> to travel, work on a book for retail investors and mentor other company employees, said Fidelity spokesman Vincent Loporchio.

During his leave, the mid-cap fund's lead manager will be James Harmon, who will continue to run the $5.2 billion Fidelity Advisor Small Cap Fund <FSCTX.O>, Loporchio said. Harmon will have help from a team of other interim managers on Low-Priced Stock Fund, Fidelity said.

Tillinghast, manager of the Low-Priced Stock Fund since 1989, intends to return to the company in January, Loporchio said. The fund is large for its category, and while its record was mediocre in 2010, Tillinghast has bounced back this year and his longer-term record remains strong.

The fund has beaten 88 percent and 77 percent of peers over the past three and five years according to Chicago research firm Morningstar Inc.

(Reporting by Ross Kerber. Editing by Robert MacMillan)