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Thursday, March 16, 2006

T. Rowe Price's Roche To Retire

by: Marie Glancy

George Roche, the chairman and president of T. Rowe Price Group since 1997, will retire during the fourth quarter of 2006, the company announced Thursday.

The firm's board of directors intends to elect James A.C. Kennedy chairman when the time comes. Kennedy is currently director of equities.

Roche has worked with T. Rowe Price since 1968, and managed the New Era Fund from 1979 until 1997. He joined the board of directors in 1980, and served as chief financial officer from 1984 to 1997. Since he took over as chairman and president, the firm's assets under management have expanded by an estimated 170%, reaching $269.5 billion as of December 31, 2005.

Kennedy began his career at T. Rowe Price in 1978, working with Roche in the natural resources division. He joined the board of directors a decade ago, and became director of equities in 1997.

Once Kennedy becomes chairman, the position of director of equities will be filled by William J. Stromberg, who now serves as co-director of equities and director of global equity research.

As part of the same announcement, the company said its board will elect Brian C. Rogers chairman of the board, while Edward C. Bernard will be elected vice chairman. Rogers will continue in his capacity as the firm's chief investment officer, as well as manager of the T. Rowe Price Equity Income Fund and large-cap value portfolios for institutional clients. Bernard was named successor to vice chairman James Riepe when Riepe announced his retirement late last year. Bernard has been nominated to take over as director of the T. Rowe Price mutual funds next month, when Riepe's terms expire.

With Roche and Riepe handing the reigns to Kennedy and Bernard, the Baltimore investment managers will soon complete a management transition kicked off in 2003, when then-vice chairman and chief investment officer M. David Testa announced his retirement.

"T. Rowe Price is one of the premier investment management organizations in the world and I am proud to have played a role in that success," said Roche in a press release. "While my upcoming retirement represents the final step in a changing of the guard for T. Rowe Price, I am extremely confident that the firm will move forward from a position of strength, and that the organization and its clients will be well served by our next generation of leaders." 

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