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KNOXVILLE — Margie Nichols, senior director of communications and government relations for Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, has been named executive assistant to University of Tennessee President John Petersen.

Margie Nichols
Margie Nichols
Nichols will have chief of staff responsibilities and will oversee organization and follow-up as part of the president’s senior staff. She replaces Lofton Stuart who had held the position for three years, prior to being named executive director of the UT National Alumni Association earlier this fall.

“This is a key position with our senior staff and comes at a critical time when we are on a fast track to pursue opportunities to move the university forward in strategic areas,” Petersen said. “Margie Nichols has the experience and background not only to provide liaison with senior staff, but to contribute to the management and administrative process as well. She is highly respected within the community and her activity as a UT Martin alumnus gives her good insight into how the university functions.”

Commenting on the move, Mayor Haslam said, “Margie has been a great part of our team, and we will really miss having her with us. The good news is that she will not be going far, and we look forward to continuing to work with her as we partner with UT in so many important projects.”

Nichols joined Haslam’s senior staff in January 2004 and has had responsibility for internal and external communications for the city. She worked for 26 years in television news, including an eight-year stint as news director at WBIR-TV in Knoxville, as well as positions with stations in Nashville and Memphis. She is past president of the Executive Women’s Association and is a member of the UT National Alumni Association Board of Governors Executive Committee. She previously served as chair of the UT Knoxville Chancellor’s Associates. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from UT Martin.


Gina Stafford Phelps, (865) 974-0741,