T. Rowe’s Kennedy handing off CEO job to onetime football star Stromberg

By Ross Kerber

(Reuters) – Asset manager T. Rowe Price Group Inc said on Wednesday that global equity head William Stromberg, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, will become its chief executive on Jan. 1, succeeding James Kennedy, who plans to retire later in 2016.

T. Rowe Price of Baltimore said that Kennedy, 61, would also turn over his roles as president and chair of the firm’s management committee to Stromberg, who is 55 years old and joined the company in 1987 as an equity analyst.

Kennedy became CEO and president in 2007 and T. Rowe posted one of the stronger records among top fund companies during and after the financial crisis, with inflows of investor cash driven by good returns and its retirement business.

Stromberg earned a master’s degree in business from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. He also was the first player to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame from Johns Hopkins University, where he played the position of wide receiver from 1978 to 1981 and set numerous national and school records.

He is described on the Hall’s website as “One of the finest wide receivers in Division III history,” referring to the division in which Hopkins played.

In an interview, Stromberg said as CEO he expects to continue to emphasize areas on which Kennedy had focused, including its global investing operations and diversity efforts. “We’ll keep the heat on,” he said.

Stromberg also said T. Rowe Price does not plan a major push into passive products, which now make up only about 10 percent of its total assets under management of $772.7 billion, even as many investors turn away from traditional actively-managed funds. “I don’t think you should expect any dramatic shifts,” he said.

T. Rowe Price also said Eric Veiel, a director of equity research for North America and a member of its U.S. equity steering committee, would become head of U.S. equity effective Jan. 1.

Shares of T. Rowe price were down less than 1 percent to $81.01 in midday trading on Wednesday after the news.

In a research note to investors, Wells Fargo analyst Christopher Harris wrote the transitions seemed to be well-planned. “This announcement doesn’t seem to imply anything out of the ordinary,” he wrote.

(Reporting by Ross Kerber; Editing by Ted Botha and Chris Reese)

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