BET has named Scott M. Mills as the network’s new president. Current president Debra L. Lee will stay on as chairman and CEO, the Viacom-owned asset announced Thursday.
Mills will take on day-to-day tasks and strategy at BET starting Jan. 1, 2018, with Lee set to focus on relationships with their external stakeholders and communities. Michael Armstrong will remain general manager and report 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,” Lee says. “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.”
Mills currently serves as executive vice president and chief administrative officer at Viacom, overseeing human resources, real estate and facilities and security. Mills previously held the position of president and chief operating officer for BET Networks, where he launched what is now BET Her.
“BET has consistently produced exciting, thought-provoking content, shaping culture and conversation with African Americans and young audiences around the world,” Mills says. “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.”
President and CEO of Viacom, Bob Bakish, praised Lee’s work building BET into a “truly global entertainment powerhouse” and “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,” Bakish says. “We’re grateful that we will continue to benefit from Debi’s experience and insights.”