40. Documenting Magic

“I was way out of my comfort zone,” says Bruce Chizen. “I didn’t know if I was making the right decisions. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I doubted myself every night.” That was then, in 1998, when Chizen took a greater leadership role in what was a highly troubled company from its legendary cofounders. Chizen, who officially became CEO in 2000, obviously made the right moves, from a major reorganization to a greater focus on customers. He engineered the turnaround without destroying Adobe’s unique people-friendly culture, no less. In 2004, Chizen successfully reinvented the company that made desktop publishing possible by moving into the enterprise server business to help customers send more-reliable documents through email. The result: In fiscal 2004, Adobe’s net income jumped 69% to $450 million on revenue that grew 29% to $1.7 billion, a record for the company. Chizen is now in his comfort zone.


Bruce Chizen, 49

CEO and president
Adobe Systems Inc.
San Jose, California

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