Founded in 1976, CGI is among the largest IT and business consulting services firms in the world, helping clients become digital through end-to-end services.
Our 40-plus years of continuous profitable growth is a testament to the confidence our clients place in us, to the commitment of our members, and to the sound business model and sustaining principles on which we were founded.
1976 – 1986
Serge Godin founded CGI in Québec City, Canada, in June 1976. A few months later, André Imbeau joined him and together they committed themselves to build a company based upon a shared dream: "To create an environment in which we enjoy working together and, as owners, contribute to building a company we can be proud of."
The name “CGI” is the French acronym for “Conseillers en gestion et informatique,” which means information systems and management consultants. In English, the acronym stands for “Consultants to Government and Industry.”
In CGI’s first 10 years, the growing team of highly qualified members joining CGI helped craft the company’s principles and beliefs. These have since been documented within the CGI Constitution, which encompasses our Dream, Mission, Vision and Values. (We refer to our professionals and consultants as members given all who join CGI are invited to company owners, and this ownership mentality is woven into all aspects of our management approach. To learn more about the Constitution, which is the foundation of our Culture, and to read a Word from Our Founder, visit the CGI Culture brochure.)
CGI’s business strategy was, and remains today, tightly linked to the following: helping our clients achieve success, providing fulfilling career opportunities for our members, and sustaining long-term growth for our shareholders. This strategy requires creating a financially sound environment in which all key stakeholders—clients, members and shareholders—prosper.
From the outset, a performance-based management and monitoring system for all functions was put in place to ensure that opportunities could be identified and addressed quickly. Strong and accountable leaders with the right level of empowerment allowed the company to expand rapidly.
During this period, the IT services market was in its infancy. Demand for IT services evolved to include new types of requirements, including fixed-price and systems integration contracts. CGI evolved from a consulting company to a consulting and systems integration company.
Near the end of this decade, our targeted clientele began to consider and, in many cases, chose to outsource their IT functions. CGI responded by preparing a strategy to enter the emerging outsourcing market.
1986 – 1996
In 1986, CGI began to merge with outsourcing companies. At that time, CGI’s annual revenue was $25 million, and the first merged company (BST) had annual revenue of $8 million. To finance the transaction, CGI became a public company, issuing 800,000 Class A subordinate voting shares at an opening price of $6.50.
With this acquisition, CGI was in a position to offer the full continuum of IT services—technology and management consulting, systems integration and IT outsourcing.
A few years later, client consultations with CEOs, CFOs and operation leaders identified two key trends: business processes services (BPS) and globalization. CGI responded by expanding into geographies where clients’ operations were located and by developing strategies to grow BPS operations.
In 1992, the initial version of the CGI Management Foundation was created to serve as the backbone for all management frameworks, policies and guidelines. The CGI Management Foundation ensures the alignment of management principles and decision making to achieve balance between the interests of CGI’s key stakeholders. This allowed CGI to make sound business decisions and to continue to grow healthily.
Throughout our evolution, CGI has maintained a steadfast focus on delivering quality services to our clients. To demonstrate this commitment, we sought external recognition of our quality assurance efforts. In 1994, CGI became the first IT consulting firm in North America to comply with the internationally recognized ISO quality standard. CGI earned ISO 9001 certification for our project management framework. This certification has since evolved to include all management frameworks pertaining to CGI’s partnership with key stakeholders.
Management attention was concentrated on growing and consolidating the capabilities of the company while remaining financially healthy. By the end of fiscal 1996, CGI’s annual revenue had grown to $122 million.
1996 – 2006
By this period our target clientele was comprised of the world leaders of their respective industries. To help these clients succeed required local critical mass in key regions, a deep knowledge of their business sectors, proven solutions and specialized practices. CGI continued to evolve to respond to these business demands.
With the IT industry rapidly maturing, globalization and consolidation became key characteristics of this period. Faithful to a commitment to long-term, independent viability, CGI was positioned to be one of the IT and BPS industry consolidators.
Executing on CGI’s “Build and Buy” growth strategy became the focus during this period of expansion. That strategy, which continues today, aims to meet client requirements and achieve growth targets through the following:
- Build: Growth through new business generated from existing and new clients
- Buy: Growth through acquisitions that are strictly contingent on strategic fit, synergies and a positive financial contribution
The following are the major acquisitions that significantly changed CGI’s size and presence in key geographies:
- In 1998, CGI’s merger with Bell Sygma led to the signing of the largest Canadian outsourcing contract of that time, nearly doubling the size of the company.
- In 2001, CGI merged with IMRGlobal to add Indian operations to our portfolio, providing clients with expanded global delivery options.
- In 2004, CGI merged with American Management System (AMS). This transaction doubled the size of CGI in the United States and tripled the size of our presence in Europe.
From an IT industry point of view, two significant events known as the “Y2K bug” and the “Internet bubble” influenced the business dynamics of this period. Anchored on ethical and sound business principles and values, CGI continued to grow steadily and profitably throughout these events and more importantly in their aftermath.
By the end of fiscal 2006, CGI’s annual revenue reached $3.5 billion.
2006 – 2016
This decade marks a continued commitment to the fundamentals that help all of CGI’s stakeholders succeed, and the fulfillment of CGI’s strategic objective of doubling the size of the company.
In 2010, CGI merged with Stanley Inc., including Stanley’s subsidiary operations Oberon and Techrizon. The acquisition nearly doubled the size of CGI’s U.S. operations. In addition, the combination of talent and capabilities created further opportunity for growth in the key U.S. federal market, particularly in the defense and intelligence sector.
Two years later, we made our largest acquisition to date, merging with the Anglo-Dutch business and technology services company Logica. The acquisition increased the size of our staff from 31,000 to 68,000 members and offered greater presence, service capabilities and expertise for our clients across the Americas, Europe and Asia. With this acquisition, we became the world’s fifth largest independent IT and business consulting services firm in the world.
In 2016, we made several strategic mergers: JSL, a leading Toronto-based consultancy specializing in banking and agile development; Alcyane, a French high-end consulting firm, also specializing in banking; and Collaborative Consulting, a Boston-based consulting firm with a focus on digital solutions, particularly in the areas of financial services and life sciences.
2017 – Present
In 2017, we invested in several metro market-focused mergers, including four U.S.-based strategic consulting firms: CTS (Birmingham, AL) and ECS Team (Denver, CO), bringing robust strategic consulting, cloud, data analytics and digital transformation capabilities; Summa Technologies (Pittsburgh, PA), bringing expertise in digital experience and agile software development; and Paragon Consulting (Philadelphia, PA/New Jersey/New York), bringing deep expertise in health and life sciences, as well as digitization and systems integration. In Northern Europe, we merged with Affecto Plc, a leading provider of business intelligence and enterprise information management based in Helsinki, Finland.
In 2018, we merged with German-based ckc AG, a specialized provider of agile software development and management services, with a focus on the automotive sector.
In 2019, we announced our acquisition of Acando AB, a leading IT management and consulting services firm in Northern Europe and Germany. We also completed the acquisitions of SCISYS, a leading provider of IT services in the UK and Germany, and Sunflower Systems, an asset management and services leader in the U.S.
In 2020, we acquired Meti Logiciels et Services, a France-based company offering integrated business solutions and consulting services for the retail sector. We also announced our intent to acquire TeraThink, a leading IT and management consulting firm providing digitization, enterprise finance, risk management, and data analytics services for the U.S. federal government.
The combination of these mergers and acquisitions increased the size of our global CGI team to 78,000.
Also in 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and recognizing our clients’ needs for service continuity of critical systems, we rapidly mobilized to safeguard payroll and core financial and insurance systems, call center capabilities and overall technology supply chains. To support clients address short-, mid- and long-term impacts resulting from the pandemic, we also developed a framework with insights and services to help clients navigate the journey ahead. We refer to those phases as Respond. Rebound. Reinvent. (Learn more at cgi.com/3R)
Today, with a presence in hundreds of locations worldwide, strong industry expertise and end-to-end IT services, CGI is able to meet our clients’ business needs anywhere, anytime. We continue to strive to be recognized by clients, members and shareholders as a world-class IT and business consulting services leader. While remaining true to our Constitution, CGI continues to adapt to best respond to changes in the IT market, the local and global business climate of clients, and to our members’ and shareholders’ expectations.