Haley picks BMW spokesperson to lead Commerce

Nikki Haley
Nikki Haley
Bobby Hitt (www.uscupstate.edu)
Bobby Hitt (www.uscupstate.edu)
Bobby Hitt (Source: Office of the Governor Elect)
Bobby Hitt (Source: Office of the Governor Elect)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - South Carolina Gov.-elect Nikki Haley has picked BMW executive and former newspaper editor Bobby Hitt to lead the state Commerce Department.

The announcement Monday is Haley's first Cabinet choice. It comes four weeks after she won the election to become the state's first female and first minority governor.

"During the course of the campaign, we said that jobs and the economy are top priorities and that we need a Commerce Secretary who knows that 'can't' is not an option," said Gov.-elect Haley. "No one has more economic development experience over the last two decades than Bobby Hitt. A businessman who has been at the negotiating table with commerce officials and business leaders many times, Bobby Hitt's involvement in every aspect of economic development in our state means he'll have no learning curve. He'll hit the ground running in January."

A native of Charleston and University of South Carolina graduate, Hitt has been a spokesman for BMW since it opened its Greer plant in 1993. The 60-year-old Charleston native was managing editor of The State newspaper from 1987 to 1991.

Hitt has also served as Chairman of the Board of Directors at the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance, Vice Chairman of Southeast Region for the National Association of Manufacturers and on the executive committees of AdvanceSC and the Upstate Alliance.

"I couldn't be more excited about taking on this mission," said Mr. Hitt. "I can't imagine a greater opportunity than to represent Gov.-elect Haley and the state of South Carolina in bringing more jobs and businesses to our state."

The South Carolina Department of Commerce works to promote economic opportunity for individuals and businesses. As South Carolina's leading economic development agency, the Department of Commerce works to recruit new businesses and help existing businesses grow.

The Senate must confirm Haley's choice to lead one of 15 Cabinet agencies overseen by the governor.

Haley will be sworn into office next month.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.