BET President Debra Lee steps down

The longtime president at Black Entertainment Television Debra L. Lee is stepping down from that role on Jan. 1 and will serve as chairman and CEO of the network, Black Enterprise reported. Scott M. Mills, who has worked at the cable channel for two decades, will replace her.

“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,” Lee said, reflecting on her more than 20 years leading BET.

Lee’s accomplishments at BET are numerous. Under her leadership, the network gained traction with scores of African American viewers. The cable channel focused on launching original programming, including “Being Mary Jane” and “The Game.” Under her guidance, BET also added several live events and award shows to its roster. Bob Bakish, president and CEO of BET’s parent company Viacom, praised Lee’s contributions toward turning the network into “a truly global entertainment powerhouse.”

After Lee turns over the reigns of daily operations to Mills, she will focus on developing the network’s relationships with external stakeholders and communities.