Adobe welcomes Eugene Saburi, our new president of Japan. In this interview, Eugene shares his career story, his thoughts on Adobe, and how he plans to support Adobe Japan.
Adobe Life: What attracted you to Adobe?
Eugene: What Adobe is doing to complement its creative offerings is really interesting. Taking the digital marketing products and turning them into a strong business unit while simultaneously making deeper forays into the lucrative enterprise segment will serve us well. Not only is this a great adjunct business, but it gives us an enterprise platform from which we can pivot into new opportunities. I also see great value in Adobe’s business model transformation from traditional licensing to a subscription model. This move is visionary and bold – one that many others in the industry are trying to emulate. I am impressed with the caliber of talent, culture of collaboration, and teamwork I see at Adobe. We also have customers that are absolutely passionate about our products. I love that!
Adobe Life: What is your role with Adobe? What does it entail?
Eugene: My job is to ensure the sound operation and growth of Adobe’s Japan business. From a revenue perspective, it is the second largest country for Adobe, so needless to say, there is a lot at stake. There are some distinct attributes of the market with lots of upside in the digital marketing business. With my background in marketing in Japan, I hope to tackle that opportunity head on.
Adobe Life: What do you hope to achieve at Adobe?
Eugene: Initially, I want to listen and learn as much as possible, in order to familiarize myself with our products, business models and employees. I also plan on spending a lot of time with our customers and partners, as well as key influencers in the market. Being a marketer, I spent a great deal of time in the area of analytics and relationship marketing, so my hope is that I can bring some insight into those particular areas. One of Japan’s unique attributes is that – unlike the west – the CIO and CMO positions often don’t exist. I believe this gives us an opportunity to drive thought leadership in Japan around business transformation in the area of marketing and use of IT as a strategic business asset. If we play our cards right, I think this also gives us an opportunity to further elevate our brand in the local market.
Adobe Life: Are you excited to move back to Japan?
Eugene: I look forward to being back in Japan for a variety of reasons. After having spent the last five years in a corporate role at Microsoft, I am energized by the notion of going back out into the field and spending time with customers and partners and being closer to the action. Also, having grown up in Yokohama and spending half my career there, I definitely plan on spending time at my old stomping grounds. Finally, it is my hope that my family will get re-exposed to their heritage and learn about its beautiful culture.
Adobe Life: In your career, what was your most memorable business leadership lesson?
Eugene: About a decade ago, I was in a position where I went from managing a relatively small team of about 40 to an organization of 150 people. I quickly learned that I couldn’t be a subject matter expert on everything, and how I personally managed my priorities was paramount. There were topics where I could offer direct supervision but I also had to learn how to be a coach in subjects that I was less familiar with (for example, market research methodologies or product categories I wasn’t previously involved with). I continue to learn about leadership and am fascinated with the topic. It is definitely an art and a science.
Adobe Life: What is your world outside of work?
Eugene: My wife and I have three very active children, a teenage daughter and two boys in elementary school. Needless to say, they keep us quite occupied with their studies, sports and parenting in general. On a personal note, I’m an avid kayaker and have been coaching a youth and masters team for the last few years. I also compete at the national level for flat-water sprint kayaking and surf skis. It’s a great way to clear my mind. There’s nothing like gliding a boat on glassy water, early in the morning. I try to get on the water whenever possible – even during the winter when it is cold and dark out. People think I am nuts!
Adobe Life: What’s your favorite sports team?
Eugene: Having lived Seattle for a long time, I love the Seahawks. I am also looking forward to getting back into Japanese baseball and taking my family to games in Tokyo. One of my childhood friends is a coach for the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants.
Adobe Life: What’s your guilty pleasure?
Eugene: My wife and I really enjoy traditional French cuisine. With three children and an active lifestyle, nothing slows you down like a multi-course meal and a flight of wines for good conversation.
Adobe Life: What’s your favorite quote or saying?
Eugene: “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” – Henry Ford
Interested in making an impact at Adobe Japan? Visit our career site to explore opportunities.