Debra Lee Is Stepping Away From Running BET After Leading For More Than A Decade
Since 2005, Debra L. Lee has served as the Chairman & CEO of BET Networks. While, one of the most powerful Black women in all of media will retain both of her current titles, today (December 14), it has been announced that Lee is stepping away from her day-to-day duties to begin a new role.
Billboard Business reports that Lee will remain with Black Entertainment Television in a “role shifting towards an ambassadorial and outreach position for BET’s various stakeholders and the community at large.” At the top of 2018, Lee’s current responsibilities will be assumed by Scott Mills. He returns to BET as network president, a title he previously held in addition to COO. For the last several years, Mills has served as executive VP and chief administrative officer at BET’s parent company, Viacom.
An employee with Black Entertainment Television since 1986 (seven years after it launched), Debra Lee’s leadership saw the launch of original programs such as Being Mary Jane, The Real Husbands Of Hollywood, Black Girls Rock!, and The Game. In that same period, the network launched its BET Hip Hop Awards, a mainstream event for the genre and culture. This past February, Lee became the first woman to receive the “Grammy Salute To Industry Icons” honors at Clive Davis’ and the Recording Academy’s annual pre-awards gala.
Under her watch, BET now reaches a reported 125 million households and broadcasts in more than 60 nations. Lee also is reported to serve on Twitter’s board of directors. Lee was very close by (and joined by Dave Chappelle) as LL Cool J recently became Hip-Hop’s first Kennedy Center Honoree.
In March, BET’s longtime President of Programming Stephen Hill also left his post.