Robert M. “Bobby” Hitt III will continue as South Carolina’s scretary of commerce into Gov. Nikki Haley’s second term, Hitt and the Governor’s Office have confirmed.
Haley and Hitt have a “tremendous partnership,” announcing more than 57,000 jobs and $14 billion in corporate investment over the past four years, Haley spokesman Doug Mayer said.
“The governor looks forward to continuing this work with Secretary Hitt,” Mayer said.
Hitt said he’d spoken with Haley about continuing as the state’s top jobs recruiter, next to the governor herself, but “more importantly, I’ve spoken with my wife.”
The former BMW executive and newspaper editor is well known in the business community and economic development circles.
Hitt, 64, is a Charleston native and graduate of the University of South Carolina. He worked for 17 years as a newspaper journalist in Columbia and was managing editor of The State newspaper before joining the Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough law firm as director of planning and development. Later, he spent about 18 years in the Upstate as manager of corporate affairs at BMW Manufacturing Co. in Greer.
His civic roles during that time included chairman of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance and board member for the Upstate SC Alliance, the regional economic development organization based in Greenville.
Hitt became secretary of commerce in January 2011 at the start of Haley’s first four-year term.
He and his wife, Gwen, have two sons and one grandson.