Shantanu Narayen is the CEO of Adobe. Adobe is well-known software company knowns for its flagship software products used in graphics, photography, illustration, animation, and videos. The company was founded in 1982 by John Warnock and Charles Geschke. The company has over 20,000 employees today. The company has development centers in the United States and in India.
Steve Jobs made an attempt to buy Adobe for $5 million in 1982 but the company founders refused to sell the company. Eventually, jobs bought 19% of the company. The cash from the transaction made Adobe the first Silicon Valley company to be profitable in its first year.
Adobe bundles its products as a Software as a Service (SaaS) offering called Adobe Creative Cloud. In recent years, the company has expanded into Customer Experience Management (CXM).
8 Things About Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen
1. Narayen grew up in Hyderabad and attended a school that produced many CEOs
Narayen grew up in Hyderabad, India. His family spoke Telugu and he attend Hyderabad Public School. Other notable alumni if Hyderabad Public School include Satya Nadella (Microsoft), Prem Watsa (Fairfax Financial), and Ajay Banga (Mastercard).
2. He graduated from Bowling Green State University and Berkley
Narayen graduated with a bachelor’s degree in electronics and communication engineering from Osmania University in Hyderabad. He moved to the US to get his master’s degree in computer science from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. In 1993, he received his MBA from the University of California, Berkley’s Hass School of Business. In 2011, he received an honorary degree from Bowling Green State University.
3. He met his wife at Bowling Green State University
Narayen met his future wife Reni at Bowling Green State University. Reni has a doctorate in clinical psychology. The couple has established the Reni & Shantanu Narayen Scholarship at BGSU’s department of computer science. The couple has two boys – Shravan and Arjun Narayen.
4. Narayen held product development positions in Apple and Silicon Graphics
Narayen held management positions at Apple between 1989 and 1995. After leaving Apple, he was a director at Silicon Graphics where he managed desktop and collaboration products. In 1996, he co-founded a digital photo sharing company Pictra Inc.
5. Narayen quickly rose through the ranks at Adobe
He joined Adobe as in 1998 as senior vice-president. In 2005, he was appointed the Chief Operating Officer of the company. In 2007, Shantanu Narayen became the CEO of Adobe.
5. He moved Adobe move to the cloud
Instead of selling desktop products, Narayen moved Adobe to the cloud and helped the company sell subscriptions for its online products – a painful transition for a company with established products. After a successful transition to the cloud, Shantanu Narayen was named one of Barron’s “World Best CEOs”. Others named in the list included Google’s Larry Page, Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffet, and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.
6. Former eBay CEO John Donahue is his mentor
For many years, Narayen has relied on former eBay CEO John Donahue as a mentor. Donahue was CEO of eBay from 2008 to 2015. The two have been known to talk frequently about ideas and business.
7. He loves cricket and sailing
Narayen’s interests outside the C-suite include cricket and sailing. He is an investor in Major League Cricket in the US. Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella is also an investor in the league. He represented India in sailing at the Asian Regatta.
8. He maintains a close relationship with India
Shantanu serves as vice chairman of the US-India Strategic partnership forum. In 2018, he was named the Global Indian of the Year” by the Indian newspaper Economic Times of India. He was awarded the Padma Shri award – the fourth highest civilian award in India. Narayen is part of a long list of American companies that have Indian American CEOs.