Adobe co-founder and inventor of PDF has died aged 81

Adobe co-founder and University of San Francisco president Charles Geschke (left) presents honorary degree to the Dalai Lama alongside USF President Steven Privett (right) in San Francisco, California in 2003.

Adobe co-founder and University of San Francisco president Charles Geschke (left) presents honorary degree to the Dalai Lama alongside USF President Steven Privett (right) in San Francisco, California in 2003.
Photo: Justin sullivan (Getty Images)

Charles “Chuck” Geschke, co-founder of the leading software company Adobe that invented PDFs, died at the age of 81 on Friday, the company said in A declaration.

“This is a huge loss for the entire Adobe community and the tech industry, for whom he has been a guide and hero for decades,” Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen wrote, in an email to staff.

“As co-founders of Adobe, Chuck and John Warnock developed revolutionary software that revolutionized the way people create and communicate,” he continued. “Chuck has inspired the company to relentlessly innovate, which has resulted in some of the most transformative software inventions, including the ubiquitous PDF, Acrobat, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, and Photoshop.”

After earning a PhD from Carnegie Mellon University, Geschke met Warnock while working at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, according to the new Mercury. The two left the company in 1982 and founded Adobe to develop software. Their first product was Adobe PostScript, which Narayen hailed as “an innovative technology that provided a radical new way to print text and images on paper and sparked the desktop publishing revolution.

Geschke retired as president of Adobe in 2000 after nearly two decades at the helm of the company. He was co-chair of the Adobe board alongside Warnock from 1997 to 2o17 and served on the board until April 2020, when he became a member of the board emeritus.

“I could never have imagined having a better, friendlier or more knowledgeable business partner,” Warnock said in a statement shared by Adobe. “Not having Chuck in our lives will leave a huge hole and those who knew him will all agree.”

President Barack Obama awarded Geschke and Warnock the National Medal of Technology In 2008.

Geschke’s wife said he was just as proud of his family as he was of his professional achievements.

“He was a famous businessman, the founder of a great company in the United States and around the world, and of course he was very, very proud of that and it was a huge achievement in his life, but this was not his goal – really, his family was, ”said Nancy“ Nan ”Geschke the new Mercury the Saturday. “He’s always called himself the luckiest man in the world.”

In addition to his lasting impression on the tech industry, Geschke also survived a kidnapping attempt in 1992. Two men grabbed him at gunpoint as he arrived at work one morning and held him hostage for four days, demanding ransom. The Associated Press reported at the time. He was eventually rescued by officers with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Geschke is survived by his wife, three children and sevinto grandchildren, the Mercury News reported.

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