CEO at Xrysos Odigos
(Greek Yellow Pages)
Mr. Athanasios Raptis is the C.E.O. of Greek Yellow Pages a member of Star Investments Group, one of the leading Mass Media and Technology Groups in Greece.
From 2005 to 2010 he was the Commercial Director of HELEXPO, the Hellenic Organization of International Trade Fairs, Exhibitions Congresses and Events. From 2003 to 2005 he was the Marketing Director of Sarah Lawrence, a leading retailer company. Before 2003, he was Sales Manager for LogicDIS a software technology organisation and Product Manager for ELGEKA the largest Greek commercial company in the food sector.
Mr. Raptis has a B.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Polytechnic School, an MBA degree from University of Kent at Canterbury UK, Kent Business School and a M.Sc. degree in Marketing and Communication (Graduated with Distinction) from Athens University of Economics and Business. Finally, he has also attended the Executive Education Program of Harvard Business School.
Q. Do you have a routine you try to do every day?
Actually, yes, I have to separate my personal life from my business because what I do, what they did the last six-year about my business life, is that I live in Thessaloniki and work in Athens So I had to fly every week from Thessaloniki to Athens and back at the end of the week to be with my family. So things changed about my business life during the pandemic. I mean I was every day in my office, and during the pandemic, I spent more time with my family. If there is one thing about that the pandemic left us is the appreciation to everything that seems self-evident but it is not. So what I try to do what I did really often before the pandemic, was exercise almost every day. I continue to do that during the pandemic with higher frequency, so I run 3, 4 times per week, around 40 to 50 kilometers per day. I ran my first marathon in Athens. I also used to go to the gym and now all the gyms are closed. So I run almost every day do some exercise with weights. In Athens, I live in the center of the city so I run around all the major archeological sites like the Acropolis, Kallimarmaro Stadium, Museum of Acropolis and it’s quite an amazing route. It’s my way to relax, to recharge, and to fuel my body. During running I make some of my most important decisions.
Q. You live in an undeniable beautiful and historic city. Do you read a lot of books regarding history or what’s the type of books you like to read?
Yes, to be honest. I spent a lot of time reading books, articles, newspapers, business, news and I prefer the hard copy of the book or magazine instead of reading the article on the PC. I read a lot of historical books, especially about Ancient Greece. Also, I read business books from Harvard Business Review articles. My favorite author, George Orwell actually, he is English, he is a journalist and critic and my favorite book is “Animal Farm”. The noise you shed. A satirical and allegorical novella where farm animals rebel against their farmer’s authoritarian regime.
Q. If you were to write your autobiography, or if somebody was to write a book about you, what do you think the title would be?
I think this is quite a difficult question because I think the title would be, “I did it my way” like Frank Sinatra’s song. But as it might seem egoistic or selfish but I like to try and take my chances, I prefer to try and fail instead of not try at all. I believe that in life, in all the critical decisions you are alone, and then in the final account of life, you can blame only yourself.
Q. So, are you also a Music fan, and what type of music do you like to listen to?
I like both Greek and international music especially rock and my favorite singer and musician is Bruce Springsteen. So, I’ve seen him in about 30 live concerts in US and Dublin. I really like him and I would like to have dinner with him, ask him a lot of questions. So, yes I like Greek and Rock music.
Q. So this was another question for me, but you already answered, Bruce Springsteen. If you were to have let’s say, 2 or 3 other people, who would that be at your dinner?
Because I like playing chess, I think Gary Kasparov, that’s for sure, the famous Russian Chess Player and World Champion. We’d talk about thrilling games against Karpov, his break with the federation, and also about the games against Deep Blue, the IBM supercomputer.
Another person would be Plato, the Athenian Philosopher and father of the Academy. There are finance laws for federal pride that over The Academy, the first institution of higher learning in the Western World. He is widely considered as one of the most important influential individuals in human history actually. And I think we will definitely talk about the immortality of the soul. His opinions about the afterlife. He was the founder of political philosophy, innovator of the written dialog and I think it would be an interesting conversation with him.
Q. So are you yourself, a cook and what type of food do you like to eat?
I used to cook during my master’s degree, my MBA degree, in the UK, but not actually, no, I’m not cooking because the main reason is that my wife is a much better cook. What I’m doing is to support here to going for shopping to Supermarket. I’m very good in Barbecuing, actually. Greece has a very wide coastline, and thousands of islands so I prefer fresh fish, with fresh vegetables and a glass of Ouzo.
Q. Just one last question about you, we all know you from your role at Yellow Pages but if you go back in the old days what was your first job, like your first non-desk job?
Actually, my first job was when I was 16. I was a waiter assistant at a fast-food chain. So my duty there was to clean the table and bring the beverages. I was a full-time job with two shifts, morning and evening and it was during the summertime period, in order to get some extra money for vacation. But my first real job in the business was in fast-moving consumer goods, I was the assistant product manager in the marketing department.
Q. If there is one message you would like to give to all Siinda Members and partners before we all hopefully meet in Berlin again, what would it be?
I really missed being with people with customers, with partners, or my colleagues I Siinda. I think the difficulties are being left behind. So stay healthy.
I think we have a strong responsibility in getting the world back on track after the pandemic and I’m looking forward to seeing all of you in person in Berlin.