Adobe CEO Chizen Resigns

If the timing of Chizen's departure is a surprise, the identity of his successor is not. A nine-year Adobe veteran, Narayen has been Chizen's heir apparent since his promotion to president in early 2005. He worked closely with Chizen to guide Adobe's landmark Macromedia purchase later that year, a deal that significantly boosted Adobe's already sizable footprint in the design and development software field and set it on a collision course with Microsoft for the hearts and minds of Web developers.

Adobe did not offer a reason for Chizen's imminent departure, and Chizen did not comment on his future plans. While he will end his operational duties at Adobe next month, Chizen plans to serve out his term on the company's board of directors through the spring of 2008 and continue in a "strategic advisory capacity" for the company though most of next year.

"For me personally, the time is right for a transfer of leadership and I look forward to supporting Shantanu as he takes on his new responsibilities," Chizen said in a written statement. An Adobe employee since 1994, Chizen became the company's CEO in 2000.

Chizen leaves Adobe on a financial high note. Adobe's year-to-date revenue is up 19 percent over its sales during the first three quarters of 2006, and sales have been strong for the Creative Suite 3 update Adobe launched earlier this year.

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Concurrent with news of Chizen's resignation, Adobe announced a preview of its fourth-quarter financial results and said it expects sales "near the high end" of its previously announced $860 million to $890 million target range. Adobe will release its full financial results on Dec. 17.