BET Networks has named Viacom executive and former BET boss Scott M. Mills as president, a role in which he will oversee overall strategy and day-to-day operations of BET Networks including oversight of the brand’s programming, ad sales and digital teams. Debra Lee will continue in her chairman and CEO role but is stepping back from running the network, and will serve as an advisor to Mills.

Michael Armstrong will continue in his position as GM, and as part of the leadership shift will report to Mills. Mills starts in the new post January 1.

Lee has been with BET since 1986 when she was named VP and general counsel. She was elevated to President and COO in 1996, and became CEO of BET Networks in June 2005.

Scott M Mills
BET Networks

“Today, BET is thriving as the No. 1 network for African American audiences, and we continue to see strong growth in ratings, share and social engagement,” Lee said. “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 is EVP and Chief Administrative Officer at Viacom, overseeing Human Resources, Real Estate and Facilities and Security. He previously served as President and Chief Operating Officer for BET Networks, and helped launched what is now BET Her and BET’s mobile and digital video distribution operations.

“BET has consistently produced exciting, thought-provoking content, shaping culture and conversation with African Americans and young audiences around the world,” he said today. “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.”