Adobe taps former army officer Kulmeet to lead South Asia

| Mumbai, India | 20 June 2016 | Asia Samachar |
Kulmeet Bawa, Adobe - PHOTO / ADOBE
Kulmeet Bawa, Adobe – PHOTO / ADOBE

Kulmeet Bawa, who spent about a dozen years in the Indian military before moving into the corporate world, has been tapped to lead Adobe India.

The document solution provider has appointed Kulmeet as the Managing Director for South Asia effective 24 June 2016. He takes over from Umang Bedi who is leaving the company.

Kulmeet, who was the Adobe’s sales head for India, will report to Adobe Systems Inc president for Asia Pacific Paul Robson.

“Kulmeet has been instrumental in accelerating Adobe’s momentum in the Indian market, in particular in the enterprise market, which has seen exponential growth over the past two years,” said Robson in a statement, dated 6 June 2016, announcing Kulmeet’s promotion.

Kulmeet will lead the company’s customer-facing engagements in India, while Shanmugh Natarajan, Executive Director for Adobe India and VP Engineering for Digital Media, will continue to provide Site Leadership to Adobe India with a key focus on important research and development operations, the statement added.

Prior to joining Adobe in 2012, Kulmeet served Microsoft India as Director of the Goverment and Healthcare business. He was at Sun Microsystems earlier.

Kulmeet. a graduated of the Indian Schold of Business, had spent more than 12 years with the Indian Armoured Corps, the statement added.

In an article [Expect the Unexpected, 4 May 2016] available at the Adobe website, it captures Kulmeet’s story at the military. It goes:

When Kulmeet B. was 16, he left home and joined India’s National Defense Academy. That decision would kick off a career in the military, where Kulmeet would learn lessons that form the foundation of his corporate career today.After earning his bachelor’s degree, Kulmeet became an army officer at age 20. He then joined a fighting unit and spent six years in active operations in Kashmir, the region rife with conflict between India and Pakistan. After that, he spent three years working for the governor of an Indian state in the capacity of an aide-de-camp and another three years teaching military strategy to senior army officers.

Everything was going well. Too well.

“I had topped all my courses of instruction,” Kulmeet says. “I was selected for a UN mission appointment and could clearly envision my next 10 to 15 years. That’s when I was hit by the ‘what next?’ syndrome. I wasn’t bored, but just wanted the next big challenge.”

He found it by switching gears completely: by arming himself with an MBA degree and moving into the corporate world.

Kulmeet says his years in the military taught him lessons that he still carries with him today. First, it’s not about how good you are; it’s about how good your team is. Second, it’s all about discipline and integrity. Last, leadership needs to be understood as inspiring your team members to stand for something and be their best.

“If I needed to take an eight-man patrol out in the middle of the night to counter an infiltration in a nearby village, I would seek volunteers,” Kulmeet says. “Now, how do you choose these people? You simply ask for volunteers and end up getting 16 hands up, despite them knowing that some of them may not come back alive. That was what leadership meant to us.”

Kulmeet says it’s been no different in the corporate world.

“It’s all about getting people to want to work with you because they get to envision the impossible, to cling to the magic of life, and to build a legacy larger than themselves.”


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