An entrepreneur
driven by
excellence

CGI listed on the Montréal Stock Exchange and first acquisitions of companies offering outsourcing services in Québec and Canada (1986)

Photo credit : CGI’s archives

A unifying leader

Throughout CGI’s expansion, Serge made smart choices and had a knack for spotting good business opportunities, whether through making acquisitions or recruiting talent.

In the 1980s, companies were increasingly seeking to have services provided by third parties. CGI positioned itself as a high-end consultancy in order to meet this new demand. Its team seized the opportunity to develop full outsourcing services, notably focusing on project management and strategic planning.

Les associés de Serge Godin

Serge Godin's parteners, Paule Doré, André Imbeau and Serge Brassard (1998)

Photo credit : CGI’s archives

Serge Godin magazine PME

Serge Godin in PME magazine (1985)

Photo credit : CGI’s archives

By the late 1990s, CGI had acquired extensive knowledge in numerous sectors and could meet its clients’ needs anywhere in the world. At this point, Serge turned his attention to acquisitions to ensure the firm’s continued growth. With the purchase of Stanley Inc. in 2010, CGI doubled its activities south of the border and gained access to the U.S. federal market.

Clip from Serge Godin’s interview, Cercle des Grands entrepreneurs du Québec — only available in French

Serge’s ambition and determination inspired others to get on board his growth projects. He is a unifying leader who attracted talented professionals. Indeed, he exemplified the business culture that he instilled in his teams following local and international acquisitions.

President and CEO of CGI from 2006 to 2016, Michael E. Roach joined the firm in 1998 after its merger with Bell Sygma, where he held various management positions. He remembers being taken by Serge’s passion and commitment and believing in the founder’s vision. Together, they would accomplish great things.

Serge Godin et Mike Roach

Serge Godin (left) and Mike Roach (right) (2012)

Photo credit : CGI’s archives

Serge Godin Gasla Mercuriades

Mercuriades Gala, Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal (1992)

Photo credit : CGI’s archives

CGI’s edge : expertise and competence

Serge knew that the path to a successful consulting business was client satisfaction. He therefore made service excellence his priority.

He created centres of excellence to meet his clients’ needs and stand out from the competition. Set up in close proximity to clients, i.e. directly in their market, these centres were well positioned to meet clients’ individual needs. Serge opened offices near decision makers, offering specialized services with a view to delivering excellence. He called on the knowledge of his colleagues around the world and tasked each centre of excellence with client management. These centres also made it possible to relocate work to inside a country’s borders and create specialized jobs outside of major urban centres.

Clip from Serge Godin’s interview, Cercle des Grands entrepreneurs du Québec — only available in French

The power of teamwork

While most companies have a vision and mission, CGI goes a step beyond. It has a company dream : “ to create an environment in which we enjoy working together and, as owners, contribute to building a company we can be proud of. ”

This dream has remained unchanged since it was first conceived by Serge and André Imbeau when they founded CGI in 1976. The dream embodies two key principles : enjoying one’s work and the sense of belonging that comes with being an owner.

Serge is the very embodiment of this sharing culture, offering his employees a share purchase plan right from day one and allowing them to grow as co-owners. He knows that by doing so, he is giving them an opportunity to participate in the life and development of the company.

Clip from Serge Godin’s interview, Cercle des Grands entrepreneurs du Québec — only available in French

After each acquisition, Serge would meet with the new employees to officially welcome them into the CGI family. Serge met with Logica’s employees immediately after the acquisition. He enthusiastically described the firm they were about to join and told them that this was the last time their company would be sold, as CGI was not for sale. By winning their trust, Serge made this acquisition a success.

This is a first for me, managing a company with 400 offices worldwide and 70,000 employees in 40 countries

SERGE GODIN