Chairman and CEO Debra Lee Has Stepped Down at BET

Chairman and CEO Debra Lee Has Stepped Down at BET

Changes are coming.

Chairman and CEO Debra Lee has stepped down at BET Networks. Lee has worked for the network since 1986, starting off as their in-house counsel before working her way to the top.

“In 1986 I joined BET Networks to be its very first in-house counsel. As a young corporate attorney I saw my role as the protector of the BET brand and its employees and today, more than 32 years later, I still see myself as the protector and defender of a brand that I have helped to grow as a top destination for audiences across the globe. I have called BET Networks home for over three decades and this team is part of my extended family. In addition to the legacy I have built for BET Networks in the media landscape, I am also extremely proud of the legacy of values that I helped to instill at the network during my tenure. My belief that we can do well and do good has been a guiding principle and one that I hope you will continue after my departure. Together, we have built a world-class brand that connects with fans through the power of storytelling and we have attracted and nurtured top talent across the globe,” she said in a statement.

She continued, “I feel a tremendous amount of gratitude to our parent company, Viacom, for their continued belief in the power of the BET brand and their unwavering support of my long and fulfilling career here. I would especially like to thank Bob Bakish for supporting me as I start the next chapter in this exciting journey. I could not be prouder of the enormous amount of talent and creativity at BET Networks today and I will always be BET’s number one fan, rooting for each and every one of you as you continue to break barriers and share your authenticity with the world. I leave with pride, gratitude, and joy for a life-changing professional and personal journey. Continue to do it “for the culture” and much success to you all. You deserve it.”

She plans to stay involved in the media industry and keep her roles on corporate and nonprofit boards, working with Times Up, The Recording Academy Diversity & Inclusion Task Force and more. She’ll also continue her Leading Women Defined gathering of prominent African American women.

Debra Lee’s last day is May 28 and her role won’t be replaced. The current president, Scott Mills, will handle her day-to-day duties to him.

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