Globally Leading and Continent Leaping

Interview with Craig Tegel, President of Adobe Japan

Starting a new job can be a challenging, nerve-wracking and exciting experience. But embarking upon a new job in a new city where you don’t speak the language could prove too intimidating for some. Adobe Japan President Craig Tegel happily took on that challenge, packed his bags and arrived in Tokyo to start his new job without speaking any Japanese.

It wasn’t his first experience living in a new country- Craig is an Australian native who worked and lived in Beijing and London before his latest move to Japan. “Adobe is a global company, and I had to think about that fact that if my career was going to progress, I’d have to work outside Australia,” he says.

Craig started at Adobe 15 years ago, drawn to the company mostly because of its passionate people. “The people I’d interviewed were passionate people who really loved their jobs,” he says. “They really just believed in what Adobe was doing and how we could help our customers.”

After four years on the job, Craig left for a year but says he found himself wanting to return to Adobe. “A bad day at Adobe is a good day somewhere else,” he says. “Fortunately, I got an opportunity to come back, and I’ve been back for 12 years.”

After working in Beijing as part of his Asia Pacific role, Craig was offered an opportunity to work in London, a turning point in his career. “It was a big change,” he says. “It was a much bigger business. Learning about managing an enterprise business and having the opportunity to be with a much larger team equipped me with the right experience to move to Japan.”

After receiving an offer to work in Japan temporarily, Craig took to the culture quickly and decided he wanted to stay. “I loved it so much, probably for the same reasons I love the company so much,” he says. “The Japan team was so great, so keen to be successful and drive business to new levels.”

And despite the fact that he only speaks “survival Japanese”, as he puts it, Craig says the Japanese people were welcoming and cooperative. “I was really surprised that people didn’t mind that I couldn’t speak the language,” he says. “What they liked was that I was respectful of the Japanese way of doing business. If you can embrace the culture, people are really willing to support you.”

He’s also excited about the future of Adobe Japan as more companies shift to digital marketing. “Japan is a really creative country and a lot of people are using our Creative Suite solutions,” he says. “I think there’s a huge opportunity for our digital marketing business here as companies are looking for how they can leverage the web on mobile phones and tablets.”

And after 15 years with the company, Craig still loves working with passionate people he was drawn to with that first offer. “Hands down, the best part of my job is the people I work with. If you think about our core values, it’s always been about the people. The people and the culture are what make Adobe such a fantastic place.”