The executive-level turnover at BET Networks continued on Thursday, with the top boss at the Viacom-owned network stepping down after a 13-year tenure.
BET announced that Chairman and Chief Executive Debra Lee will be leaving the company effective Monday.Lee began her career with the network as its first vice president and general counsel in 1986 and was promoted to president and chief operating officer 10 years later. She was named chairman and CEO in 2005.
Lee's departure is the latest executive shake-up at BET since Bob Bakish took over as CEO of parent company Viacom in late 2016.
promised to reinvigorate the media conglomerate. Brad Grey left his position as the head of Paramount in early 2017. Cable channels including Spike (now the Paramount Network), TV Land, MTV and Comedy Central also have seen executives depart or transfer to other Viacom properties.Other Viacom-owned properties also have seen leadership changes since Bakish became CEO and
Viacom said in its announcement Thursday that Lee plans to stay involved in the media industry and remain on corporate and nonprofit boards. In addition, the company said she plans to continue her commitment to diversity and inclusion through her work with Times Up and the Recording Academy's diversity and inclusion task force.
Lee said in a prepared statement: "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."