Since reading Donald Norman’s book “The Invisible Computer" in the late 90s, one sentence has remained with me: “I don’t want to use a word processor, I want to write a letter." This notion represents perfectly how I see technology, and how it needs to bring value to and be in the social context of the user. In other words, I always look at technology as the tool, not the goal in itself.
Today, I continue to put this philosophy into action by leading the product vision, strategy, management and marketing for Corel’s flagship brands, including CorelDRAW, Corel Painter and WordPerfect. With my passionate focus on customer delight, I have a proven track record of delivering high quality, award winning products; building global strategies; and driving growth and profitability. I am recognized as a passionate and authentic leader, who enables the whole team to deliver the right customer driven products, at the right time and on budget.
With extensive experience in Product Strategy and Management, I lead using a collaborative approach with my team and co-workers, looking for creative approaches to business model innovation, while focusing on the end-user value. This is how I drove CorelDRAW’s move from a traditional packaged software to a SaaS / Cloud + Mobile + Desktop: providing users choice and enabling a smooth transition from one business model to the next. Combined with a switch to rapid releases, CorelDRAW now answers customer expectations and market dynamics in a matter of months versus years.
In order to achieve the best possible understanding of the customer base and to drive the product vision, I am a strong proponent of direct contact with users off-line and on-line through social networks and communities. After moving to Ottawa, Canada from Europe in 2006, I quickly became the “go-to" person for CorelDRAW users, with members of the community often commenting “just contact Gérard" in the forums in order to get something resolved.
I am also a recognized innovative thinker, capable of understanding the big picture as well as the details. As such, I have delivered patentable solutions for the company. I am able to connect and build strong relationships with colleagues, partners and press, and have always enjoyed sharing ideas through presentation and effective communications. I am the internal and external “evangelist" for my products, getting everyone aligned behind the vision.
As one colleague put it in a recent 360 degree assessment: “Gérard is analytical and is excellent at strategizing. He brings a certain unique quality by combining both business and technical skills that enable him to work with a cross section of product and engineering folks. He is … extremely dependable when leading large initiatives."
Another colleague stated that “Gérard is a highly motivated leader with obvious passion and commitment to the products he manages. One of his greatest strengths is really understanding user needs and challenges. He seems to take a lot of personal time to interact with users and gather feedback that informs strategy and development. Gerard has been great at reinforcing business objectives and ensuring that the various teams stay focused on our goals. He drives activity based on overall objectives, and reminds people why we’re doing what we’re doing. He often backs this up with hard data. He’s a numbers guy! Gerard is also a supportive colleague. He’s not afraid to take accountability for decisions, but is open to hearing other points of view. He willingly steps in to support colleagues and teams when needed."
I am a licensed private pilot, always looking for an excuse to go and fly somewhere. I also serve as a Board Member of the Rockcliffe Flying Club, a not-for-profit organization based in Ottawa that focuses on teaching to fly, operating an airport, as well as making flying fun and affordable for its members.
Originally from Switzerland, I relocated with my family to Canada in 2006 after having worked in the UK for a number of years. I speak fluent English, French and German. I am educated in both Computer Science and Business, and recently finished my Certificate of Business Excellence from the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley.
Gérard was a tremendous manager and leader during my time at Corel. Along with mentoring me during my early days there, he was a stable presence in our line of business, passionately representing the voice of our users throughout the world. Always wearing a smile, Gérard is a great communicator and he is exceptionally detail-oriented. He has tremendous presentation skills, having presented our product vision and strategy countless times to senior management, as well as our product focus and features to customers and press. Gérard was a key force in defining and driving the product strategy for the graphics line of products at Corel, which resulted in stability when market conditions were challenging, and excellent growth overall. I will always be grateful for the skills I learned from Gérard, and have gratitude for his role in helping to shape my career. I hope to have the opportunity to work with Gérard again someday, and would recommend him highly to anyone!John FalsettoVice President, Product Management | John reported to Gérard
Gerard is one of the most competent product strategist and product management leaders I have had an opportunity to work with. He formulates a well articulated vision for his product portfolio, he has a deep understanding of the market as well as the customer needs and he is able inspire his organization to execute on this vision. Gerard's has a talent to set a common goal and align cross-functional teams to implement the various aspects of the solution working diligently through the details to ensure outstanding customer experience across the web, mobile app and core desktop product. I have been most impressed by Gerard's commitment to the user community, his innovative ability to find channels of communication with those users, his open mind to listen to their requirements and his passion for the highest quality of his products' features and marketing messages. Gerard stands out as a leader who can work with every level and function within the enterprise from the executive management team through to the various Marketing, R&D, IT and Customer Service teams. He has an in-depth knowledge of the products and the technologies used to ensure that those products are well established market leaders in their domain. I would recommend Gerard as an executive who can realize full value from a mature market offering and bring a spirit of innovation to create new growth potential.Margaret PlucinskaVP of IT and Business Operations | Margaret worked with Gérard
Gérard brings a unique blend of strategic vision and impassioned management to his leadership style. His leading-edge product plans and life cycle management strategy consistently aligns customer’s wants with needs, while hitting aggressive P&L and growth targets. Balancing the need to support legacy desktop applications with new growth, Gérard anticipated the need to shift products to the Cloud with SaaS offerings and built a growing, incremental recurring revenue stream. His practice of both staying abreast of industry trends and then sharing his learning’s has dynamically influenced the growth of the entire organization. Gérard’s tenacious and enthusiastic approach to all pursuits, including piloting planes and creating E-Business sites for volunteer organizations, creates a culture of excellence that is reflected in his products and management teamsSandra InglisE-Commerce, Marketing and Social Media Leader | Sandra worked directly with Gérard
Working with Gérard has been an absolute privilege. For several years we have worked together through the strategic partnership of Corel and Wilcom. Gérard's passion for the customer and understanding of how they use technology, matched with his innovative thinking was integral to the success of our co-branded product and and customer experience. Since 2007 we have worked together on the global multi-channel go-to-market strategy & plans and I have found Gérard to be thorough, thoughtful and intuitive.Kristi McKenzieMarketing & Brand Strategist | Kristi was with another company when working with Gérard
I have worked closely with Gerard for more than 6 years at Corel on CorelDRAW Strategic planning, several product launches and customer acquisition, retention & loyalty programs. Gerard is a very inspiring leader with a unique blend of technology passion, business expertise and customer-delight focus. And he continues to impress by his whole product experience leadership, brand management and community engagement (he is our CorelDRAW community site ‘father’ which now includes more than 110,000 members around the world!). Endowed with excellent strategic and innovative mind, with strong orientation towards over-achieving objectives, Gerard was one of the key contributors to our products and organization success year after year, both on revenue and profitability sides. On a more personal note, Gerard has been one of the best Managers I ever had! Very approachable, I can always rely on him for his support but also for his relevant feedback, out-of-the box ideas and engaging actions for career development.Cécile BrosiusDirector of Product Marketing | Cécile reported to Gérard
Gérard is a strong leader who drives his products strategy as well as day-to-day operation forward. His people management skills are excellence and clearly helps to drive the whole team’s success, especially when it comes to executing on difficult decisions. With a focus to delight customers, he is passionately leading the Brand and whole product experience of his areas of responsibility. As an example, Gérard has driven the user community from the first idea to and active and vibrant place with over 100,000 members. He’s continuously using that platform for the direct relationship with the user community of “his” brand. In all of his work, Gérard is highly-organized, results-driven and detail-oriented. His approach to set highest standards is encouraging for the whole team. Gérard is one of the best managers I’ve had! While he is motivating, leading and supporting where necessary he provides a great level of trust and room for personal development that creates a positive and very productive environment.Klaus VossenSenior Product Manager | Klaus reported to Gérard at Corel Corporation
Gerard is a natural leader with a true passion for his work and a razor-sharp vision for his products. His drive to deliver an outstanding customer experience has set an example of excellence for the entire team. In fact, Gerard directed a major reorganization that brought all functions of the R&D, Product Management, Marketing, eCommerce and Creative Services teams together to create a unified customer experience to the CorelDRAW brand. His strategic planning, enthusiasm, tenacity, innovative spirit, and ability to align all of the cross-functional disciplines changed the way we do business at Corel. This resulted in the highest increase in revenue that the product line has ever seen. As a key technology leader, Gerard also influenced and championed new membership services, a new subscription program and improved product functionality, bringing new revenue streams to the business and more choice to our customers. Gerard has been a great partner and respected senior leader to all.Susan SteinMarketing Director, Creative Services | Susan worked indirectly for Gérard at Corel Corporation
Gerard is an exceptional business and product management leader, who is respected and relied upon by his colleagues worldwide. He has a strategic and analytical mind, is customer orientated and is tenacious in seeing projects through to fruition. He possesses a deep understanding of technology, keeps up to date with market trends, and applies his knowledge to developing market leading product experiences. He is hands-on, results driven, detail orientated and highly organised. His business acumen is strong, able to balance the demands of growing sales yet achieving record levels of profitability. His international background and linguistic abilities enable him to forge strong relationships with colleagues and customers around the world, and he is highly responsive to opportunities or issues. Always ready to take on new challenges, Gerard interacts naturally with customers, reviewers and partners. He is an effective and inclusive team manager, whose passion is contagious and whose high standards are an example to those around him. It is a pleasure working with Gerard, and I appreciate his generosity of thought and willingness to help others.Nick J. DaviesInternational Managing Director | Nick managed Gérard at Corel Corporation