Geac Computer Corporation

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Geac Computer Corporation
IndustryComputer software
Fateacquired by Golden Gate Capital's Infor March 2006
FoundedToronto, Ontario, Canada (1971)
HeadquartersMarkham, Ontario, Canada
Key people
Charles S. Jones (President and CEO),
Kent Jespersen (Chairman)
Donna DeWinter (CFO)
Isobel Harris (VP and GM, Enterprise Solutions),
Jeffrey Snider (SVP and Legal Counsel)
Brian Hartlan (VP, Global Marketing)
Revenue$444,400,000 USD (2005)
Number of employees

Geac Computer Corporation, Ltd (TWSE: GAC and NASDAQGEAC) was a producer of enterprise resource planning, performance management, and industry specific software based in Markham, Ontario. It was acquired by Golden Gate Capital's Infor unit in March 2006 for US$1 billion.[1][2][3][4]


Geac was incorporated in March 1971[5] by Robert Kurt Isserstedt and Robert Angus ("Gus") German.[6]

Geac started with a contract with the Simcoe County Board of Education[6][7] to supply onsite accounting and student scheduling. They programmed inexpensive minicomputers to perform tasks that were traditionally done by expensive mainframe computers.


Geac designed additional hardware to support multiple simultaneous terminal connections, and with Dr Michael R Sweet developed its own operating system (named Geac) and own programming language (OPL)[1] resulting in a multi-user real-time solution called the Geac 500.[8]

The initial implementation of this system at Donlands Dairy[9] in Toronto[6][10][11] led to a contract at Vancouver City Savings Credit Union ("Vancity") in Vancouver, British Columbia, to create a real-time multi-branch online banking system. Geac developed hardware and operating system software to link minicomputers together, and integrated multiple-access disk drives, thereby creating a multi-processor minicomputer with a level of protection from data loss. Subsequently, Geac replaced the minicomputers with a proprietary microcoded processor of its own design, resulting in vastly improved software flexibility, reliability, performance, and fault tolerance. This system, called the Geac 8000[12] was introduced in 1978.

Geac introduced its library management software in 1977, and a number of well-known libraries adopted it. These included the US Library of Congress and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. In the mid-1980s, it released a suite of office automation apps (calendar, wordprocessor, e-mail, spreadsheet, etc.) running on the 8000.[12] This application suite was piloted by the federal Office for Regional Development (ORD - later absorbed by Industry Canada) and later still was used by the NAFTA Trade Negotiations Office. Compared to similar LAN-based office initiatives of the same period, Geac's multi-user minicomputer-based offering provided significantly higher availability. And its software developers were exemplary in fixing bugs promptly and responding to requests for enhancements.


During the 1990s the company successfully embarked on an aggressive acquisition strategy led by Steve Sadler, CEO, and expanded into a wide range of vertical markets, including newspaper publishing, health care, hospitality, property management, and others.

Its 1999 acquisition of JBA Holdings PLC by the new leader, Doug Bergeron, Geac CEO, doubled the size of the company, but became a financial disaster. [13] Geac's acquisitions were not aligned to any customer focused strategy: they covered a wide range of products and geographies, and many analysts accused Geac of "financial engineering".[14][15]

In the early 2000s, the company faced significant financial issues: in April 2001, the company's US$225 million credit line was in default, and during FY2001, Geac posted a loss of US$169 million on revenues of US$552 million. Geac updated some of its legacy software[16] replaced its management team, ultimately tapping its chairman, Charles S. Jones,[17] to be the CEO, Donna DeWinter to be the CFO[18] (Ms. De Winter is currently CEO of Nexient Learning), and made Craig Thorburn the Senior Vice President of Acquisitions (while he was a partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon). Geac then paid off its bank loans, and significantly improved its profit margins,[19][20] and its stock began to increase.[21] It listed on the NASDAQ.[22] It also embarked on a strategy of establishing a single focus for its software products around selling software to the Chief Financial Officer of client organizations.[23] It profitably divested its real estate software operations[24] after making it profitable and a growing business, and acquired two business performance management companies: Comshare (Template:NASDAЙ)[25][26][27] and Extensity (NASDAQEXTN).[28] Geac also obtained a $150 million credit line[29] and fended off a proxy fight brought by Crescendo Partners.[30] In March 2006, the company was acquired by Infor Global Solutions for US$1 billion, or $11.10 per share, compared to US$1.12 five years earlier, providing the investors a 10x return.[31] In Fiscal 2001, the company posted a US$169.1 million loss, and in fiscal 2005, Geac posted net income of US$77 million.[32]

After it was acquired, several executives of Geac, including CEO Charles S. Jones, left the company to form Bedford Funding, a private equity fund that invests in software companies.[33] While Geac was headquartered in Canada, Mr. Jones lived in Westchester County, NY, and also served on the board of the Westchester Land Trust, to which he donated over $100,000 in 2006.[34] Mr. Jones would also later donate $100,000 to Iona Preparatory School.[35] Bedford Funding would later make investments in several IT companies, including MDLIVE.

Geac OPL (Own Programming Language)[edit]

Geac Corporation's Own Programming Langugage (OPL) found uses in:

Geac operating system[edit]

Geac Corporation's Operating System was named Geac.[39] [40]

Geac minicomputers[edit]

Between 1971 and 1977, four Geac minicomputers were introduced:

  • Geac 150 (1971)
  • Geac 500 (1972)
  • Geac 800 (1973)
  • Geac 8000 (1977)

The 8000 had 300 MB disks, and initially supported 8 - 12 terminals (subsequently increased to permit 20 - 40). These terminals were custom-designed Informer units.

The 2nd version of the 8000, a dual-CPU system released 1978, supported up to about 1GB of hard disk.


Geac purchased Dun & Bradstreet Software Services in 1996,[41] including a dozen software packages collectively known as Millenium.[42]


Geac made numerous acquisitions during its existence, including:

  • Advanced Business Technologies
  • Clarus Corporation (Assets)
  • Claymore Systems Group
  • Collier-Jackson, Inc.
  • Comp-Tech Incorporated
  • Compro
  • Comshare
  • Control Transaction Corporation
  • Convergent Solution Pty. Ltd.
  • Cruickshank Technology Pty.
  • Cybergraphic Group
  • Datamark International Limited
  • DDN Holdings Northern Ltd.
  • Dun & Bradstreet Software Services
  • EBC Informatique
  • ECI Computer Inc.
  • Extensity
  • Fasfax Corporation
  • Florida Computer & Network
  • FGH Decision Support Systems
  • Gazette Technologies
  • Hotel Computer Systems Limited
  • Hotel Systems Pty. Limited
  • JBA Holdings plc
  • JBA Italia s.r.l.
  • LIBRA Corporation Signature Division
  • Management Data GmbH
  • Matrix Publishing Systems
  • MJC Systems Spol. S.r.o.
  • New Tech Hospitality Systems Ltd.
  • News Holding/Interealty
  • OCS Technology Public Safety Unit
  • Perc Technical Services
  • Phoenix Systems Ltd.
  • Praxa Limited
  • Princeton Network Systems
  • Pro-Mation, Inc.
  • Real Estate Unit, GTE Enterprise
  • Remanco International
  • RunTime A/S
  • Software Shop Systems, Inc.
  • Soluzioni Gestionali srl
  • Stowe Computing Australia
  • Stowe Computing (NZ) Limited
  • Technology Services Group
  • Tranti Systems Inc.
  • TWG Technologies


Products that Geac produced included Anael, Expert & Millennium Server, MPC, RunTime, SmartStream, System21, and VUBIS.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Geac Computer Corporate". Developed their own midrange operating system (Geac) and programming language (OPL).
  2. ^ "Geac Sold to Golden Gate In Deal Worth $1 Billion". The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). November 8, 2005.
  3. ^ Infor was described by WSJ as "an existing Golden Gate Capital-funded company"
  4. ^ Marshall Breeding (January 2006). "Long-Standing Geac to be absorbed by San Francisco firm". Smart Libraries Newsletter. will be merged into a Golden Gate-owned company called "Infor."
  5. ^ R. L. McKenney Jr (1984). "Guide to Canadian Aerospace Related Industries" (PDF). History: GEAC was founded in 1971
  6. ^ a b c "A Brief History of Geac - Ex-employees of Geac".
  7. ^ first Geac 150 installed at Simcoe County Board of Education (financial application written in FORTRAN)
  8. ^ 500/800
  9. ^ bought, later sold, by Neilson
  10. ^ 1972: the first Geac 500 was installed at Donlands Dairy, running an order entry system
  11. ^ A year later the first Geac 800 was installed at Donlands
  12. ^ a b D. Botten (1982). "The Geac 8000 system at the Polytechnic of the South Bank". Abstract: The Geac 8000 Library System from Canada, installed at two sites of the Polytechnic, is based on a minicomputer offering 64K Bytes of memory for ...
  13. ^ Globe & Mail, May 14, 2001 - Archived April 21, 2011, at WebCite
  14. ^ Globe & Mail, May 9, 2000 - Archived April 21, 2011, at WebCite
  15. ^ Globe & Mail, Aug 24, 2001 - Archived April 21, 2011, at WebCite
  16. ^ Information Age article - Archived April 21, 2011, at WebCite
  17. ^ Charles S. Jones Compensation Investigation - Archived April 21, 2011, at WebCite
  18. ^ CanadaIT, October 15, 2003 - Archived April 21, 2011, at WebCite
  19. ^ Globe & Mail, June 1, 2001 - Archived April 21, 2011, at WebCite
  20. ^ Merrill Lynch, June 22, 2004 - Archived April 21, 2011, at WebCite
  21. ^ WSJ Oct 1, 2001 - Archived April 21, 2011, at WebCite
  22. ^ Press Release, Feb 4, 2004
  23. ^ Globe & Mail, Sept 11, 2003 - Archived April 21, 2011, at WebCite
  24. ^ CIBC, October 3, 2005 - Archived April 21, 2011, at WebCite
  25. ^ CNet, June 23, 2003 - Archived April 21, 2011, at WebCite
  26. ^ Official Press Release, Geac Completes Acquisition of Comshare
  27. ^ NY Times, June 24, 2003 - Archived April 21, 2011, at WebCite
  28. ^ Informationweek, Aug 27, 2002 - Archived April 21, 2011, at WebCite
  29. ^ Free Library, August 11, 2005 - Archived April 21, 2011, at WebCite
  30. ^ Free Library, August 31, 2005 - Archived April 21, 2011, at WebCite
  31. ^ Globe & Mail, January 21, 2006
  32. ^ [1] - Archived April 21, 2011, at WebCite
  33. ^ Wellington Financial, November 14, 2006 - Archived April 21, 2011, at WebCite
  34. ^ Westchester Land Trust Annual Report 2006
  35. ^ Iona Prep Receives Cornerstone Gift in Support of Strategic Expansion Initiatives
  36. ^ D. Nicholson (1988). "Applications of the Psion organiser at Strathclyde" (PDF). The organiser can be programmed using a language called OPL, a fact which ... For example, at least one supplier of library systems (Geac) has adapted the ...
  37. ^ A. H. Schabas (1974). "Proceedings of the 1974 Clinic" (PDF). vendor, GEAC Computer Corporation, was designing that in May 1972 we .... Hewlett Packard assembler, Fortran, Basic and OPL, a high-level language.
  38. ^ "Earl MacLean - RETIRED - Scotiabank". CA.LinkedIn. Worked with Mohawk data science computers. Geac computers. Cobal programming. Geac OPL programming. Worked with mailing lists for over 150 companies
  39. ^ sometimes written GEAC
  40. ^ Christopher Syed (2011). Parents of Invention: The Development of Library Automation Systems. ISBN 1591587921. Since Geac owned the operating system, it could change it on the fly, optimizing routines that its customers discovered they would be needing frequently, ...
  41. ^ "Geac divides D&B software". November 14, 1996.
  42. ^ "Geac Computer Systems". 2002. Among the United States copyrighted products owned by Geac are twelve different software business applications, collectively known as Millennium.

External links[edit]