US - T. Rowe Price says chief investment officer David Testa is to retire and be replaced by 22-year company veteran Brian Rogers.

“Brian Rogers will take over responsibilities from David Testa on January 1 2004,” the Baltimore-based asset manager said in a statement.

It said the move was “part of a long-standing succession plan”. Testa, 59, will retire in April 2004.

The 48-year-old Rogers has been with T. Rowe for 22 years and has run an 11.5 billion-dollar US-registered mutual fund for the firm since 1985, as well as around five billion dollars in institutional equities. Rogers will continue to manage his current portfolios.

"While David's leadership will be missed, Brian Rogers' extensive investment experience and strategic insight, combined with the high regard in which he is held by portfolio managers, research analysts, and clients, make him uniquely qualified to assume the CIO role for the firm,” said chairman and president George Roche.

The firm says its CIO does not make day-to-day investment strategy or allocation decisions but “contributes intellectual leadership” and a long-term perspective.

"The transition from David to me will not affect the way we manage our clients' investments,” Rogers said. The firm manages more than 168.9 billion dollars in assets.