Carlton has cut its leadership team from eight to five players ahead of the 2015 season, with Andrew Carrazzo, Kade Simpson, Andrew Walker and the delisted Brock McLean all departing.
Rowe, 27, joins existing leadership group members Marc Murphy, who will continue as captain, Michael Jamison, Bryce Gibbs and Lachie Henderson.
Rowe had played just 10 AFL games before last season, having failed to play a senior match in two seasons on the Sydney Swans' rookie list (2006-2007) and then spending his first season at Carlton (2012) fighting – and ultimately beating – testicular cancer.
But after breaking through to play 10 games as a hard-working forward in 2013, the former Murray Bushranger reinvented himself as a close-checking key defender last season.
After missing the Blues' opening game of 2014, Rowe played the next 21 matches in a row and formed a highly effective partnership with fellow key defender Jamison.
The extent of Rowe's newfound importance to Carlton was underlined when he finished fifth in the Blues' best and fairest award.
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Carlton football manager Andrew McKay said each member of the 2015 leadership group had been chosen for the "tremendous character and leadership" they had shown this year.
"They have also taken ownership of driving the values and behaviours that we expect across our football club," McKay said.
"It's been really pleasing to watch Marc grow over his short journey as captain. When the chips were down this year he stood the tallest, as good leaders do, and in the process he has really put his own stamp on the captaincy.
"Both Marc and Bryce have signed long-term contracts, which demonstrates their commitment and belief that they can take Carlton to the next era of sustained success."
McKay said veterans Carrazzo, Simpson and Walker elected to give up their official roles to allow the Blues' next generation of leaders to emerge, but would now focus on mentoring the club's emerging players.
"The three boys all met with the coach independently and expressed a desire to relinquish their official leadership duties," McKay said.
"At their respective ages, they want to focus first on getting their bodies right to play each week and they believe they can best serve the team by allowing the younger leaders to step up.”
Carrazzo and Simpson will also step down as joint vice-captains, with the Blues to fill the post later in the pre-season.