Ted Pitts, former chief of staff for Gov. Nikki Haley, has been named as president and CEO of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce.
He will take over the role in January. Current chamber president and CEO Otis Rawl will serve as an adviser to the chamber’s board of directors during the transition, the organization said in a release Thursday.
“As we move into the future, we are happy to welcome Ted to our team. Ted is an accomplished leader with a great knowledge of issues affecting business,” chamber chairman Mikee Johnson said in a statement. “His management experience and demeanor will serve this organization well as he leads the unified voice of business.”
The last three state chamber chairmen have had ties to Haley:
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• She appointed BB&T bank executive Mike Brenan to the state Board of Education, and he appeared in one of her ads.
• AT&T state president Pamela Lackey sits on the board of Haley’s charitable foundation.
• Current chairman, Orangeburg business executive Johnson, was Haley’s high school classmate.
Also, the chairman elect – John Uprichard, chief executive of Greenville executive recruitment firm Finding Great People – donated $100 to Haley's re-election campaign.
The chamber endorsed Haley in her re-election bid this year after rejecting her in 2010 when she was a relatively unknown lawmaker from Lexington. In her first term, Haley proved herself a business-friendly governor by backing limits on lawsuit damages, fighting for for tax and regulation cuts, and working to win new jobs and businesses.
Pitts, 42, is a former state lawmaker from Lexington County, who worked as Haley's legislative aide until he was promoted to chief of staff in 2013. He left her office for the chamber last month.
A graduate of Presbyterian College, he also serves as a major in the South Carolina Army National Guard, the release said. Previously, he was a commercial real estate broker for 11 years with Newmark Grubb Wilson Kibler in Columbia. He and his wife, Christina, have three children.
“We are pleased to welcome Ted and know he will bring a great deal to this statewide role that represents each of us,” former chamber chairwoman Pamela Lackey, said in the release.