Commerce launching tech-focused online hub for S.C. (copy)

Former BMW executive Bobby Hitt has been running the S.C. Commerce Department since 2011. File/Staf

COLUMBIA — Gov. Henry McMaster announced last week that Bobby Hitt will stay in his administration as secretary of the S.C. Commerce Department.

McMaster, who was elected to a four-year term last month, said Thursday that Hitt agreed to remain at the agency he has directed for nearly eight years.

McMaster's office says South Carolina has seen nearly $30 billion in investment and added more than 106,000 jobs since Hitt was appointed by Gov. Nikki Haley after her inauguration in 2011.

A Charleston native, Hitt spent 17 years as managing editor of The State and Columbia Record newspapers before leaving journalism to work in the public relations department at BMW's Upstate plant.

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Among his biggest economic development coups in the Charleston region were major investments by two other overseas-based automakers.

In 2015, Daimler AG announced that it will build a full-blown $500 million plant for its Mercedes-Benz Vans division in North Charleston, where the German company had been assembling partly competed vehicles. The first Sprinters rolled off the Palmetto Commerce Park assembly line in September. 

Also on Hitt's watch, Sweden's Volvo Cars announced it would build its first U.S. manufacturing campus near Ridgeville in Berkeley County. The locally made S60 sedans are now being delivered to showrooms.

The Post and Courier contributed to this report.