Debra Lee Stepping Down From BET Networks

If you remember back in December, it was announced, Debra Lee - Chairman and CEO of BET Networks, would be stepping down from her day to day responsibilities so this news today was pretty much inevitable.

Lee joined BET Networks in 1986 and has overseen and executed numerous award shows, live programs, etc. She was awarded the Grammy Salute to Industry Icons Honor at the Recording Academy's Pre-Grammy Gala which made her the first woman to receive that award - I mean, BET has been the number one networks among black viewers for the past 17 years so she earned every bit of that award.

It was announced Lee will officially step down as Chairman and CEO, a position she's held since 2005, effective Monday May 28th. Her plans are to remain in the media industry, focus on corporate and nonprofit boards as well as her work with the Time's Up movement annnnd the Grammys!

Here is her official statement:

“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.”

“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.”

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