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Adobe Co-Founder Dr. John Warnock Passes at 82

It is with profound sadness that Adobe shares the passing of the company’s beloved co-founder Dr. John Warnock. Dr. Warnock passed away on Saturday surrounded by his family.

Dr. Warnock co-founded Adobe in 1982 with Dr. Charles Geschke after meeting as colleagues at Xerox. Their first product was Adobe PostScript, groundbreaking technology that sparked the desktop publishing revolution. Dr. Warnock retired as CEO in 2000 and he was chairman of the board, a position he shared with Dr. Geschke, until 2017. He was a member of the Board of Directors since then. In recognition of their technical achievements, Dr. Warnock was awarded the prestigious National Medal of Technology and Innovation by President Barack Obama; the Computer Entrepreneur Award from the IEEE Computer Society; the American Electronics Association Medal of Achievement; and the Marconi Prize for contributions to information science and communications.

Adobe Chair and CEO Shantanu Narayen sent the following email to all Adobe employees:

It is with profound sadness that I share that our beloved co-founder Dr. John Warnock passed away at the age of 82.

John’s brilliance and technology innovations changed the world. It is a sad day for the Adobe community and the industry for which he has been an inspiration for decades.

John and Dr. Chuck Geschke founded Adobe in 1982 with PostScript, sparking the desktop publishing revolution. His vision and passion enabled Adobe to deliver groundbreaking innovations such as Illustrator, the ubiquitous PDF file format and Acrobat, Photoshop and Premiere Pro, defining the desktop era and unleashing creativity and opportunity for millions of people.

John has been widely acknowledged as one of the greatest inventors in our generation with significant impact on how we communicate in words, images and videos. Among many other awards, President Barack Obama awarded him the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, one of the nation’s highest honors bestowed on scientists, engineers and inventors, in 2008; he received the Computer Entrepreneur Award from the IEEE Computer Society; the American Electronics Association Medal of Achievement; and the high honor of the Marconi Prize for contributions to information science and communications. John retired as CEO in 2000 and he was chairman of the board, a position he shared with Chuck, until 2017. Since then, he continued to serve on the Board of Directors.

While the impact that his innovations have had are countless, it is his indomitable spirit, passion and belief in building a company with strong values that has impacted all of us who have had the good fortune of working at Adobe. John was incredibly insightful on which technologies would delight customers as well as create business value. John and his wife, Marva, who is a graphics artist, used our products constantly and set the standard for customer empathy.

My interactions with John over the past 25 years have been the highlight of my professional career. At breakfasts with John and Chuck, we would imagine the future, however, it was our varied conversations on rare books, art, world history and politics that gave me unique insight into John, who was truly a renaissance man (we also loved rooting jointly for the Warriors!). While he was my role model and mentor, I am most grateful to count him as a friend.

As I reflect on this loss that will leave a huge void in our lives, I think back to a few months ago when I saw John for the 30th anniversary of Acrobat. After the event, where we celebrated the impact of Acrobat and PDF on the world of communication, we talked about the potential of Firefly to transform the next generation of creative technology. With a twinkle in his eye, he said that he was amazed with the progress and as always had feedback on how we could make it better!

My thoughts are with Marva and his entire family. There is nothing he would like more than to continue his amazing legacy so let’s continue to make him proud. BCS Bureau

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