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Governor names Lightsey S.C. Commerce secretary

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Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt speaks at the S.C. Manufacturing Conference and Expo. (Photo/File)

Gov. Henry McMaster has appointed Harry M. Lightsey III as S.C. Commerce secretary, taking over for long-serving Secretary Bobby Hitt, who oversaw a surge in manufacturing and economic development for two different administrations.

Hitt, who served for 10 years as the Commerce Department chief, will step down in the fall, the governor's office said.

Lightsey was a former executive with Bellsouth, AT&T and General Motors. Lightsey, 65, is from Columbia.


“Harry Lightsey has been a fixture in South Carolina’s business community for decades, and I’m confident that with the vast experience he will be bringing to the Department of Commerce, South Carolina will keep winning,” McMaster said in a news release. “Our state will have the workforce, infrastructure, intellectual capital, environmental assets and the quality of life necessary to compete – both nationally and globally – for jobs and investment.”

Hitt was appointed by Gov. Nikki Haley more than 10 years ago. McMaster said that his leadership at the Commerce Department established a string of economic development wins for South Carolina.

“What team South Carolina has done over the last 10 plus years — creating economic opportunities and improving lives within our borders — is quite simply remarkable,” Hitt said in a statement. “I couldn’t be prouder of our accomplishments and also couldn’t feel more confident in the direction moving forward. Harry Lightsey’s extensive background aligns with Commerce’s mission and will provide meaningful context for engagement in the state’s business community.”

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