Nearly one year after Ottawa-based Cognos slashed staff following a takeover by computer giant IBM, the company's former CEO says they've re-hired several employees.

CTV Ottawa has learned the company has added a few hundred jobs to their workforce in the capital and even more jobs in other communities where the company now operates.

"We have hired just under 300 development people in Ottawa plus hundreds more in other cities -- in India and around the world -- to do development and sales work," Rob Ashe, former CEO of Cognos and now manager of IBM's business intelligence operations, told CTV Ottawa in an exclusive interview.

While Ashe admitted there were staff cuts in Ottawa following the $5-billion takeover 11 months ago, he said 40 per cent of those who were let go have since been re-hired.

On Thursday, the firm launched a major software update to its flagship program, which is aimed at helping companies better manage the tidal wave of information and puts a big focus on allowing users to customize on-screen data displays.

American analysts, however, have said companies like Cognos -- which consider the financial industry one of their key customers -- are at risk of being hit hard by the economic storm sweeping  the United States. Ashe, though, told CTV Ottawa he's confident the company will stay strong.

"There are a lot fewer banks than there were just a couple of weeks ago, but we think that these new bigger organizations will still need help analyzing data," he said.

"We think we can work both sides -- when times are good and when times are bad. And surveys show that 75 per cent of companies still don't use our kind of program."

Ashe declined to say if the Cognos division is on track to double sales in two years to $2 billion -- the target that was set when the takeover occurred: "IBM financial people will have to talk about that," Ashe said.

IBM stock dropped six per cent Wednesday after rumors the firm will miss sales targets. The dip is the biggest decline for the company in three years. IBM declined any comment.

IBM is expected to give its latest quarterly figures on Oct. 16.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Paul Brent