Craig Lesser

Craig Lesser is the Managing Partner of the Pendleton Consulting Group.

Prior to joining The Pendleton Consulting Group, Craig Lesser served as the Managing Director and Head of International Public Affairs for McKenna Long & Aldridge, a law firm based in Atlanta. His primary focus was on expanding the firm’s presence abroad and interfacing with international businesses operating in the United States.

Until 2007, Craig served as Commissioner of Economic Development for the State of Georgia where he was the Chief Marketing Officer responsible for investment, trade and tourism. Governor Sonny Perdue appointed him to this post in 2004. In this role, he led efforts to recruit new business to Georgia from around the world. Craig’s responsibilities also included oversight of the state’s small business and entrepreneur programs, efforts to grow existing business as well as marketing Georgia as an ideal destination for filmmakers, the music industry, multi-media companies and tourists. While serving as Commissioner, there were almost 500 new investment and expansion announcements, totaling $8 billion and creating more than 40,000 new jobs. Craig also oversaw the expansion of Georgia’s international presence resulting in the state’s official presence in eleven countries.

Before his gubernatorial appointment, Craig served as Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs for Georgia Power Company; President and CEO of Mirant New York; and Senior Vice President of External Affairs for Mirant Americas. He was also a partner in a public affairs consulting firm.

Craig’s past experience also includes serving, while commissioner, as president of Hemisphere Inc., a public-private partnership created to attract the Free Trade Areas of the Americas Secretariat. During his tenure, five Latin American nations opened consulates in Atlanta and many new business relationships were forged between Western Hemisphere nations and Georgia.

He is Chairman of the Board of the World Trade Center of Atlanta, Chairman of the Board of the World Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce International Committee, Trustee of CIFAL, an Atlanta based initiative under the direction of the United Nations and Secretary of the Georgia China Alliance. He formerly served as Chairman of the Vienna International Exchange and was on Emory University’s Board of Visitors. He has also been named to the Board of Directors for Georgia Public Broadcasting.

He has been recognized by Georgia Trend, James Magazine and the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of Georgia’s most influential people and has received awards from organizations such as the Georgia Indo American Chamber of Commerce and Global Atlanta for his leadership in international initiatives.

Craig received his B.A. from the State University of New York College at Oneonta and is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School, Leadership Georgia and the Regional Leadership Institute.