South Carolina Politics

Ted Pitts Leaving South Carolina Chamber Of Commerce

Palmetto State’s top crony capitalist finally forced out …

The head of South Carolina’s largest crony capitalist advocacy organization is leaving his post to take a position with a local commercial real estate firm. Ted Pitts – who has spent the last five years heading up the S.C. Chamber of Commerce – will make the announcement of his impending departure sometime today, however his resignation will not take effect until the organization chooses a successor.

Pitts’ departure is only surprising in that it took this long to be announced.

The chief of staff to former S.C. governor Nikki Haley has been a “dead man walking” at the S.C. State House ever since his organization – under the guidance of crony capitalists like Lou Kennedy of Nephron Pharmaceuticals – attempted to oust powerful S.C. judiciary committee chairman Luke Rankin this spring.

They failed … and now Rankin is fighting back.

In fact, the announcement about Pitts’ future comes just hours after this news outlet reported on Rankin’s latest “flexing” against the chamber – specifically his demotion of a state senator who was advocating on behalf of the organization.

Pitts is stepping down to take a position with Wilson Kibler, a Columbia, S.C.-based commercial real estate firm.

Who will replace Pitts at the chamber?

Good question …

According to our sources, the chamber’s executive vice president of investor relations Sunny Philips is one contender, as is Lewis Gossett – the former head of the S.C. Manufacturers Alliance (SCMA). We have also heard former chamber staffer Mark Harmon – who recently took a position in the lobbying shop at Nexsen Pruet – as a possibility.

Current SCMA president and chief executive officer Sara Hazzard is also reportedly in the mix – as is Greenville chamber senior vice president Jason Zacher.

Sources tell us Pitts and other Haley allies had hoped to install Swati Patel – the chamber’s vice president of public policy – as the new leader of the organization but that this effort was shot down by board members who insisted on hiring a search firm.

According to a news release from the chamber, the South Carolina-based firm Find Great People will “conduct a national search for a new president and CEO, in addition to designating a SC Chamber screening committee.”




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