Capital Markets

New Adobe CFO: A $1 Billion Man?

Shares soared after the appointment of Mark Garrett to the top finance job.
Stephen TaubJanuary 24, 2007

At the company best-known for its Acrobat software, they must be doing handsprings.

Shares of Adobe Systems surged 2.17 points (5.8 percent) on Wednesday after Tuesday’s announcement that Mark Garrett would join the company as chief financial officer. Do the math, and investors valued the company more than $1.26 billion higher following Garrett’s appointment.

Granted, Wednesday also saw the overall Nasdaq climb more than 1.4 percent, led by even stronger showings from Internet and tech companies including Yahoo and Sun. Even so, Adobe’s share price outperformed the market by a considerable measure, with no other apparent news to move Adobe’s stock.

In part, shareholders might simply be assigning value to stability in Adobe’s finance department.
Last November, Randy Furr resigned as executive vice president and chief financial officer after just six months on the job. At the time, Adobe stated that no company-related issues caused Furr to leave abruptly, that his resignation was unrelated to his work, and that no issues had been raised regarding the integrity of the company’s financial statements.

Earlier this month, as it happens, Adobe completed an internal review that determined that some employees — though no executives — had received options priced below market value. According to MarketWatch, the employees were offered reimbursement and the opportunity to amend the affected options.

Garrett, who will take the reins at Adobe on February 1, was until recently senior vice president and chief financial officer of the EMC Software Group of EMC Corp. In 25 years of financial management experience in the technology sector, he was executive vice president and chief financial officer of Documentum, which was eventually acquired by EMC, and also held positions with Cadence Design Systems and IBM.