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Senate OKs Lightsey as new South Carolina Commerce director

June 29, 2021 GMT

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A longtime business executive at AT&T and General Motors became the leader of South Carolina’s Commerce Department on Tuesday after a unanimous vote of the Senate.

Harry M. Lightsey III takes over for Bobby Hitt who is retiring after running the state agency that helps brings businesses to the state for a decade.

Lightsey, 65, has served in executive leadership roles for several corporations, including as president of BellSouth Telecommunications for South Carolina prior to their merger with AT&T. After the merger, he became president for AT&T’s Southeast region.

Lightsey worked as director of federal government affairs and emerging technologies for the General Motors Corporation and most recently has been principal with Hawksbill Advisors, a business and communications consulting firm.

He has also served as Board of Directors member for the Federal Reserve Bank in Richmond, Virginia.

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Lightsey, a Columbia native, is a 1978 graduate of Princeton University and a 1981 graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law.

Lightsey has big shoes to fill. Gov, Henry McMaster kept Hitt after former Gov. Nikki Haley picked him after her 2010 election. Hitt helped land major investments in South Carolina, including projects by Volvo, Boeing and Mercedes-Benz.