Meet the Faculty

Meet Craig Apatov

Founder & Managing Partner, Ascension Growth & Innovation Strategies

Craig Apatov is an accomplished executive with over 25 years of experience at several of the world’s leading companies.

He founded and currently serves as Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Ascension Growth & Innovation Strategies, a 55 person management consulting firm focused on helping companies accelerate organic growth and improve business performance.

Ascension works extensively with growth focused organizations in the industrial manufacturing, financial services, consumer products, business services, and healthcare industries.

Prior to starting Ascension in 2003, Apatov worked in general management, strategic marketing, and business development roles at Fortune 100 companies including Con Agra Foods, Disney, Time Warner, Citibank, GM, and Mattel Toys.

Known for his strength in growth strategy, new product/service development, and business model transformation, Apatov served as a three time Chief Marketing Officer. Among his most noted professional accomplishments were:

  • The creation of $150 million in marketing partnerships for Walt Disney animated television programming
  • The successful development and launch of the GMAC/Ally Bank – now the nation’s largest and most successful online financial services provider with assets over $180 billion.
  • Spearheading Citigroup’s move into ecommerce with the development of the first virtual credit card, digital wallet, and online shopping portals as part of a massive project called “Click Citi”
  • The development of the original go-to-market strategy for AutoTrader.com – now the world’s dominant online automotive marketplace
  • At Con Agra, led the strategic reformulation and aggressive national ad campaign for Hunt’s Ketchup focused on the brand’s superior taste doubling market share vs. category leader Heinz
  • Repositioned Mattel Hot Wheels business by leveraging core brand “racing” equity to expand into race sets, battery operated vehicles, and radio controlled cars thereby doubling brand revenue

He holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and has done graduate work at the University of Southern California. He has lived and worked in Los Angeles, New York and conducted business around the globe.

Apatov guest lectures on progressive strategic growth and advanced marketing/sales enablement topics at the undergraduate and graduate levels for Georgia State University, University of West Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kennesaw State, and the University of Georgia as well as many professional organizations.

He is a past board member for Junior Achievement of Georgia and is an active member of the Georgia State University Marketing Roundtable.

He is married and lives in the Douglasville, Georgia. He has two grown children, both married.