Debra L. Lee



Debra L. Lee

Former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, BET Networks

Ms. Lee served as Chairman and CEO of BET Networks, a media and entertainment subsidiary of Viacom, Inc. that owns and operates BET Networks and several other ventures, from January 2006 until her retirement in May 2018. She joined BET in 1986 and served in a number of executive posts, including President and CEO from June 2005 to January 2006, President and Chief Operating Officer from 1995 to May 2005, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, and Vice President and General Counsel. During her tenure, Ms. Lee helmed BET’s reinvigorated approach to corporate philanthropy and authentic programming that led to hits such as The New Edition Story, Being Mary Jane, The BET Awards, Black Girls Rock!, BET Honors and many more. Prior to joining BET, Ms. Lee was an attorney with the Washington, D.C.-based law firm Steptoe & Johnson. She also serves on the board of directors of AT&T Inc., Burberry Group plc., and Procter & Gamble. She previously served as a director of WGL Holdings, Inc., Twitter, Inc., Eastman Kodak Company, and Revlon, Inc. In addition, she has served on the board of a number of professional and civic organizations including as Past Chair of the Advertising Council, as the President of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, as a Trustee Emeritus at Brown University, and as a member of the Board of Directors of former President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance. Named one of The Hollywood Reporter’s 100 Most Powerful Women in Entertainment and Billboard’s Power 100, Ms. Lee’s achievements have earned her numerous accolades from across the cable industry. In 2020, Ms. Lee co-founded The Monarch’s Collective to make it easier to diversify board rooms and upper echelons of corporate leadership with exceptional talent.

Ms. Lee provides our Board, our Executive Committee, our Inclusion and Social Impact Committee, which she chairs, and our Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee with proven leadership and business experience as the former chief executive officer of a major media and entertainment company, extensive management and corporate governance experience gained from that role as well as from her membership on the boards of other public companies, her legal experience, and insights gained from her extensive involvement in civic, community and charitable activities.