Dec 11, 2007

Big Shoes to Fill at Adobe

Chizen will be a tough act to follow. Can Narayen, with an ambitious plan to remake how we gain access to the Web, fit the bill?

Source: BusinessWeek
Written by Sarah Lacy

A little more than a year ago an exhausted Bruce Chizen was just landing in Barcelona. He’d been on a plane all night and, despite the rigorous travel schedule associated with being chief executive officer of Adobe Systems (ADBE), he’d never gotten very good at sleeping on planes. As the plane taxied to the gate, a groggy Chizen checked his Treo and was jolted by bad news. The son of Adobe India’s CEO had been kidnapped. “This is hell,” he thought to himself.

It was then that Chizen knew he would retire sooner rather than later. He already knew he didn’t want to be CEO for the long haul and had told the board as much. But he was also torn. Adobe was on a roll. On his watch, the stock had risen 40% and revenue had more than doubled. Chizen’s crowning achievement: the acquisition of Macromedia, maker of the Flash technology that enables online animation and video. Chizen still loved wandering among Adobe’s engineers, discussing products and how they’re being improved. And of course, he enjoyed the adulation of Wall Street and his customers.

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