The S.C. Employment Security Commission said former commissioner Samuel R. Foster will serve as its interim executive director effective Nov. 9, replacing Roosevelt "Ted" Halley.
Halley is retiring as the head of the agency Nov. 8, nearly two months earlier than Dec. 31 date he had announced previously.
The commission said Halley is retiring after 38 years "earlier than planned to help expedite the process of choosing" a permanent replacement.
Halley, who has been executive director since December 2002, will continue to be employed by the agency until the end of this year.
His retirement announcement in September followed months of record-setting unemployment numbers and criticism from Gov. Mark Sanford over job statistics.
Foster, a Chester native, served with the commission from 1992-2000.
Previously, he was a member of the state House of Representatives from 1981 to 1992. Foster also worked for 32 years in South Carolina public schools, as either a teacher or administrator.
"The Employment Security Commission is committed to the goal of transparency as we seek to fill the executive director's position," said its chairman, McKinley Washington.
"We are also committed to delivering continuity of leadership, so that the programs we administer will not be affected. Sam Foster's long experience with the agency will be especially helpful in this regard."