Debra Lee steps down as BET President, but will remain Chairman and CEO as Scott Mills will head daily ops
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Debra Lee steps down as BET President, but will remain Chairman and CEO as Scott Mills will head daily ops

Black Entertainment Television (BET) has named a new president.

Scott M. Mills will assume the role of President, BET Networks, effective January 1, 2018.

Debra L. Lee will continue as Chairman and CEO, focusing on BET’s relationships with key external stakeholders and communities, and serve as an advisor to Mills.

“Today, BET is thriving as the #1 network for African American audiences, and we continue to see strong growth in ratings, share and social engagement.  I have spent more than 20 years leading this incredible enterprise and I am so proud of the BET team and all that we have accomplished. As I look to the future, I believe it is the right time to take a step back from day-to-day responsibilities at BET.  I look forward to working closely with Scott, Michael, our many talented people – and very importantly, BET’s communities and external stakeholders,” said Lee.

“BET has consistently produced exciting, thought-provoking content, shaping culture and conversation with African Americans and young audiences around the world.  I am honored to work alongside Debi, Michael and the incredible team at BET as we accelerate the network’s evolution across film, digital and live experiences,” said Mils.

Viacom president and CEO Bob Bakish said: “In her two decades at the helm of BET Networks, Debi has built BET into a truly global entertainment powerhouse, bringing this dominant African American brand to more than 60 countries and 125 million households.  Her vision and leadership, unmatched intuition for what audiences want, and ability to attract and foster top talent – both behind and in front of the camera – have been pivotal to this success. We’re grateful that we will continue to benefit from Debi’s experience and insights. Scott is a proven leader who has made exceptional contributions to Viacom and BET for more than 20 years.  His strong relationships across the industry – which were instrumental in securing our recent cross-house deal with Tyler Perry – as well as his track record of success initiating innovative creative ventures, including BET Experience, make him the right person for this role, as we continue to extend this brand across platforms and markets around the world.”

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