Calian turns to tech veteran Gera to head up growing IT services division

Sacha Gera
Tech veteran Sacha Gera is joining Calian as its new president of IT and cloud services. File photo

One of Ottawa’s largest publicly traded companies has tapped a rising tech star to lead its growing IT business.

Calian Group said Thursday it has hired Sacha Gera as president of its IT and cloud services division. 

Gera, a 2019 Forty Under 40 Award recipient from OBJ and the Ottawa Board of Trade, will replace Sandra Cote, a longtime Calian executive who is retiring at the end of the year. He will officially begin his new role at Calian in September.

“Calian has excellent momentum,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to building the portfolio and positioning Calian as a cyber and cloud leader in the Canadian, U.S. and European markets.”

An engineering graduate of Carleton University in 2003, Gera later earned an MBA from Western University’s Ivey Business School. 

His distinguished two-decade career in Ottawa tech began with stints as a software developer at global giants such as Nortel, Nokia and CGI. 

SaaS expertise

Gera then spent a year as a consultant at IBM before joining the Ottawa office of Texas-based optical networking firm Ribbon Communications as VP of product management. He eventually oversaw the US$115-million spinoff of cloud communications platform Kandy.io from the U.S. firm, most recently serving as Kandy.io’s president since December.

Calian CEO Kevin Ford called Gera an experienced tech leader with an “excellent understanding” of the industry.

“His technology background and experience in professional services and SaaS is an excellent mix for our ITCS business,” he said in a statement. 

Ford also praised Cote for her decade of service to the company. 

“Under her leadership, our IT segment doubled in size, improved margins and has evolved from a services business to a cyber and cloud solutions business,” he said.

Calian posted record revenues of $138 million in the second quarter of 2021, up more than 30 per cent from a year earlier. The Kanata-based firm has made a spate of acquisitions over the past several years as it looks to grow its diverse business lines that include satellite services, cybersecurity software and medical clinics in addition to IT services.