Hall of Fame

Baltimore Sun’s 2022 Business and Civic Hall of Fame honoree: William Stromberg

William Stromberg, the humble former president and CEO of T. Rowe Price, retired after a 35-year career with the Baltimore-based money management firm. He serves on the board of trustees of Johns Hopkins University, where he completed a bachelor’s in engineering and played football (earning a tryout with the Philadelphia Eagles), and is chair of the Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering advisory council. (Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun)

It was on the football field, of all places, that William “Bill” Stromberg honed the skills that would earn him acclaim in the investment game. Years ago, before he began the climb from intern to CEO of T. Rowe Price, Mr. Stromberg was a sure-handed receiver for Johns Hopkins University. He was good enough in 1981 to set an NCAA Division III mark of 258 receptions and to land a tryout with the Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL — all the while espousing the precepts that jocks (and those in stocks) hold dear.

“It was very, very important for me to be part of a team-oriented culture,” said Mr. Stromberg, 62. “It helped me to be a much better recruiter [in the business world] and, hopefully, a decent leader. Where you earn your keep, as a leader, is helping people through tough times. In sports, during slumps, players begin to question all they do and how they do it; [coaches] help them navigate those rough periods.”


Ego driven, he is not, having worked his way through college as “a garbage man, driving around campus each morning and picking up trash.” From the job, he said, he’d “go straight to class where nobody wants to sit next to you because, many times, you don’t smell all that good. It was humbling, in many respects.”

Humility epitomizes Mr. Stromberg, those who know him said.


“Bill is deeply driven to achieve, but at same time he’s very humble,” said Ed Bernard, a longtime colleague at T. Rowe Price and now senior adviser at the firm. “He doesn’t try to do it all himself. [In meetings] he couldn’t care less if the solution being agreed upon belonged to him or to somebody else; it wasn’t all about him, it was about the solution.

“He related to everyone at T. Rowe Price, from the security guard who greets you when you come in the door to the best portfolio manager. He’s just a regular guy who happens to be very talented.”

As company honcho for six years, Mr. Stromberg was “the opposite of the ‘imperial CEO’ who has all the trappings of power,” said Brian Rogers, 66, former T. Rowe chairman and CIO. “Bill is totally apolitical in how he looks at data and facts. Even if he makes an unpopular decision, people know it was well-conceived.

“He’s also a great judge of talent and character. When someone came in for a job interview, if Bill liked the candidate, I didn’t even have to see the person.”

Mr. Stromberg’s keen eye played to a strength, allowing him to take a more visionary tack.

“It was rare, at work, for me to be the smartest person in the room,” said Mr. Stromberg, who retired in 2021 after 35 years with the firm. “What I had was the willingness to be an independent thinker. At times, you have to do things differently than the rest of the [stock] market, to disagree with the mainstream and to think outside the box.”

That tenet stemmed from football, as well. As a receiver with so-so speed, Mr. Stromberg said, “I learned how to study a defense, find the seam, sneak into it and get open. I used the same skill — a ‘spatial awareness,’ I guess — in business. You develop a sense of where openings might evolve in a hot market, find places where stocks are cheap and forgotten, and hunt them down.”

On the job, Mr. Stromberg rarely spoke of his football prowess, Mr. Bernard said:


“I’d worked closely with him for nearly 20 years before I knew [of his NCAA record], and only then because someone else told me. This is not a guy who wears his accomplishments on his sleeve. He’s just a remarkable soul, a values-driven person of impeachable integrity — and he brings that to both leadership in business and his engagement in the community.”

Reaching out, so to speak, didn’t end with football.

“Civic work has been central to me,” said Mr. Stromberg, who was head of the board of Catholic Charities during the 2012 dedication of its $15 million Our Daily Bread Employment Center and soup kitchen at 725 Fallsway. “Leaders who’ve benefited from the talent around them should give back. Baltimore needs civic engagement to find its way back to greatness, and I’d love to be a small help there.”

That benevolence is practically ingrained in the man, colleagues said.

“There’s a foundation of faith about Bill that goes back to when he was a student at Loyola Blakefield,” said Mr. Rogers, joking that “now, when he calls me, I run the other way because I know he’s trying to raise money for Catholic Charities.”

Added Mr. Bernard: “He’s not doing this because he believes people think he ought to be doing it. ... It comes down to values. There’s no superficiality about this guy; scratch the surface and he’s Bill Stromberg, through and through.”


Most everything that Mr. Stromberg has done has paid dividends — even collecting the college’s trash.

“One day, while picking up garbage, I found a pair of black Chuck Taylor tennis shoes. They were better than what I was wearing [on Hopkins’ new AstroTurf field], so I wore them the second half of the season,” he said. “Those shoes were comfortable; they really filled the bill.”

William Stromberg

Age: 62

Hometown: Baltimore

Current residence: Lutherville


Education: Loyola Blakefield; Johns Hopkins University, B.A. in mathematical sciences from the Whiting School of Engineering; Dartmouth College, M.B.A. in business administration, The Amos Tuck School of Business; Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).

Career highlights: T. Rowe Price CEO and president; also served as head of global equity and director of U.S. equity research during 35 years with the firm. Recipient of Catholic Charities of Maryland Distinguished Service Award and Loyola Blakefield Rev. James F. Salmon SJ Award. Member of Johns Hopkins University Athletic Hall of Fame, National College Football HOF, Maryland State Athletic HOF, Loyola Blakefield Athletic HOF. At Johns Hopkins, earned first-team Little All America football honors and set six national records as a wide receiver.

Civic and charitable activities: Trustee, Johns Hopkins University; board chair, Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering; former president and current Capital Campaign co-chair, Catholic Charities of Maryland; former trustee and Capital Campaign co-chair, Loyola Blakefield.

Family: Married to Lisa Stromberg; three children.