A $1.62T-AUM Giant's CEO and CFO Pass the Reins
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Thursday, July 29, 2021

A $1.62T-AUM Giant's CEO and CFO Pass the Reins

A $1.62-trillion-AUM (as of June 30), publicly traded mutual fund firm's chief is preparing to pass the reins to another PM who rose through the ranks. And that's not the only C-suite change coming for this giant asset manager.

Robert W. "Rob" Sharps
T. Rowe Price
President, Head of Investments, Group Chief Investment Officer
This morning, Alan Wilson, lead independent director of T. Rowe Price Group [profile], confirms that Bill Stromberg (age 61) will retire from the Baltimore-based company at the end of 2021. Stromberg currently serves as CEO, chair of the board of directors, and chair of the management committee, and he will stay on next year as non-executive chair of T. Rowe's board.

On January 1, Rob Sharps (age 50) will succeed Stromberg as CEO and as chair of the management committee, and he will join the board, while continuing to serve as president. (Sharps also serves as head of investments and group chief investment officer.)

Meanwhile, Celine Dufetel (age 40) will leave T. Rowe this Saturday "to assume a leadership position with a fintech company," according to the T. Rowe team. Dufetel currently serves as chief operating officer, chief financial officer, and treasurer of T. Rowe, and she will stay on in an advisory role until the end of next month.

Jen Dardis (age 48) will succeed Dufetel as CFO and treasurer, and she will join T. Rowe's management committee. She currently serves as vice president and head of corporate strategy.

Robert Higginbotham (age 53) will take on Dufetel's COO duties "on an interim basis." He serves as head of global distribution and global product, and sits on the management committee.

Also on January 1, Eric Veiel (age 49) will rise to head of global equity. He currently serves as T. Rowe's co-head of global equity, head of U.S. equity, and chair of the U.S. equity steering committee.

Josh Nelson (age 44) will succeed Veiel as head of U.S. equity and chair of the U.S. ESC, and he will join T. Rowe's management committee.

Today's leadership changes preview comes less than six months after Stromberg passed the president hat to Sharps and promoted Dufetel to COO.

Wilson lauds Stromberg as "a remarkable leader and highly effective CEO." And Sharps praises Stromberg for "commitment to the values and principles of the firm."

"He has deftly navigated the firm through a period of significant change and disruption in the industry," Wilson states.

"His contributions to our clients, associates, and stockholders, have been truly extraordinary and his impact will be long-lasting," Sharps states.

Wilson praises Sharps as "broadly respected and admired by his peers as a clear strategic thinker who quickly gets to the heart of issues, thinks through solutions, and brings out the best in his teams." And Stromberg describes Sharps as "a talented investor, a principled decision-maker, and an accessible and impactful leader of people and processes."

"Rob's appointment as CEO is the culmination of a thoughtful and planned transition and is a testament to the confidence we have in him as a steward of our culture and the right leader to guide T. Rowe Price through its next chapter of growth," Wilson states.

Stromberg describes Dardis as "a natural successor to Celine as CFO," noting that Dardis previously partnered with the management committee "to refresh the firm's strategy." Stromberg lauds Veiel as "an innovative thinker" with "an unwavering commitment to investment excellence," and the retiring CEO adds that Nelson "has been increasingly influential across U.S. Equity."

Stromberg joined T. Rowe as an equity analyst in 1987, almost 37 years ago. Over the subsequent years, he rose to PM and up through the investment leadership ranks, until taking over in 2009 as head of global equity and then in 2016 as president and CEO. Earlier, he worked with Westinghouse Defense. He is an alumnus of Dartmouth College's Tuck School of Business and of Johns Hopkins University.

Sharps joined T. Rowe as an analyst in 1997, 24 years ago, and since then he rose through the company's investment leadership ranks, eventually taking over as head of investments in 2018. Earlier, he worked at KPMG. He is an alumnus of UPenn's Wharton School and of Towson University.

Dufetel joined T. Rowe in 2017, and took over as treasurer and CFO in 2018. Earlier, she led marketing and clients at Neuberger Berman and served as North American asset management practice leader at McKinsey. She is an alumna of Princeton University and of Ecole Polytechnique.

Dardis joined T. Rowe in 2006, almost 15 years ago, as vice president of corporate strategy. She took over corporate strategy in 2016, and she took over finance in April of this year. Earlier, she worked with Constellation Energy, Energy Merchant, and SG Cowen. She is an alumna of UVA's Darden School of Business and of William and Mary.

Higginbotham joined T. Rowe in 2012 as head of global institutional services. Earlier, he served as CEO of Fidelity International's Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Latin America businesses, and before that he worked at Schroders. He is an alumnus of Imperial College London and of University of Sheffield.

Veiel joined T. Rowe in 2005, 16 years ago, as an equity analyst, after similar roles at Wachovia Securities, Deutsche Bank, and A.G. Edwards. At T. Rowe, he took over U.S. equity in 2016, and he rose to c-head of global equity in 2018. He is an alumnus of Washington University in St. Louis and of James Madison University.

After serving as a T. Rowe summer intern, Nelson joined the firm full-time in 2007, 14 years ago, and after PM and analyst work he took over as director of research in 2019. Earlier, he worked in investment banking at Citigroup. He, too, is an alumnus of Wharton, and he is also an alumnus of the University of Florida.

Editor's Note: A prior version of this story gave the wrong age for Celine Dufetel. She is 40.

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