by Leah Willingham, Associated Press

Jeffrey L. Hewitt, senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Mississippi Lottery Corporation, will serve as its next president.

Hewitt was one of the first employees brought on to the corporation in June 2019. Mississippi passed the Alyce G. Clarke Mississippi Lottery Law in 2018, establishing a state lottery program.

The Mississippi Lottery Corporation is the private company that runs the lottery. Hewitt is taking over for the corporation’s first president, Tom Shaheen, who is retiring June 30.

Hewitt said his main vision for leading the corporation is to continue to grow what Shaheen has built.

“Tom, the current president, has really laid out a great path for us,” Hewitt said during an interview with The Associated Press. “We’re on a good course, we don’t see dramatic changes, deviating from the path that we’re on. We just want to keep moving forward, keep growing the product.”

According to state law, the first $80 million in lottery proceeds for each fiscal year goes to improvements to roads and bridges, with the remaining earmarked for education. The budget year runs from July 1 through June 30.

This budget year, the lottery has transferred around $115 million in proceeds to the state, according to the corporation.

Hewitt has 30 years of lottery experience. He began his career with the Florida Lottery in 1987 and previously served in senior roles with the Georgia Lottery Corporation, as well as Scientific Games, Intralot and IGT Global Services, three of the major technology vendors in the lottery industry.

“I’ve worked in the lottery side, and then also on the vendor side,” Hewitt said. “I’ve seen both sides of the business, and I think that has given me a unique perspective that a lot of people in the lottery industry don’t have.”

Hewitt will make an annual salary of $241,020, the same as what Shaheen was being paid.

Also like Shaheen, he will have the opportunity to make up to an additional $50,000 a year in incentive pay if he meets specific performance targets laid out in his contract by the Mississippi Lottery Corporation’s Board of Directors.

A representative for the Lottery Corporation said the exact requirements Hewitt will need to meet to receive his incentive pay are still being finalized with his contract, but they will likely have to do with meeting certain sales targets.