He may have graduated with an arts degree, but Chris Skelton’s career turned to tech early on, when he was selected to join Hewlett-Packard’s graduate program.
“It set the foundation for my career path,” says Skelton, now managing director of Adobe in Australia and New Zealand.
Although he was born and bred in the United Kingdom, his desire for a global career soon led Skelton to take on roles in emerging markets across the Asia Pacific, and then to Australia.
Australia and New Zealand is a growing market for Adobe: Skelton’s team has more than doubled in the last few years and today he oversees over 250 staff members.
“As part of a global organisation with headquarters in the US, we are always refining how we combine global perspectives with local execution,” he says.
For Skelton, an enthusiastic workforce is key to getting that balance right: “I believe that an engaged employee base will invest more effort into providing a quality experience for our customers,” he says.
On that note, things are going well. Adobe Australia has been named a “Great Place to Work” for four years running, climbing the ladder to land in fifth place in 2016. It’s an accomplishment he’s proud of.
“We are proud of the talent within the organisation and prioritise providing an environment that fosters creativity and where employees feel supported,” he says.
As for his own management style?
Skelton works hard to make sure all voices are heard.
“Being a good listener is probably one of the most important things I’ve learned in my role, and as such I learn so much from my team every day,” he says.
When things aren’t going well, he tries to take a ‘cup’s half full’ approach: “A positive attitude can totally change your perspective and can help tackle the days that are the most challenging,” he says.
Name: Chris Skelton
Current position: Managing director, Adobe (Australia and New Zealand).
Responsibilities: Leads the Australia and New Zealand team; works with customers, strategic partners, and colleagues to create new opportunities and realise their potential.
Education: Bachelor of Arts, University of Portsmouth (UK).
Additional training/courses: Completion of numerous trainings that make up Adobe’s leadership development program.
Professional associations: Member, CEO Forum.
Honourable mentions: Adobe Australia named Great Place to Work four years running.
Strength: You’re only as strong as the team around you, and I’m fortunate to have the best team in ANZ.
Weakness: There’s simply not enough time in the day! If I were left to my own devices, all my meetings would run-over, but I’ve had to train myself to stick to my schedule. It also helps that I have a strong EA that keeps me on task.
Management style and tips: Management is a two-way street. I encourage feedback and I listen and engage.
Work motto: Treat every day as an opportunity.