Debra Lee is stepping down from her post as CEO and chairman at the Viacom-owned cable network,BET.

Lee, who first joined BET in 1986 as its first in-house counsel, built the network to become the top African-American brand, as the cabler is in more than 60 countries and reaches 125 million households.

“Debra’s vision and creativity have cemented BET Networks as a premier network for African-Americans and lovers of black culture,” Viacom CEO Bob Bakish said Thursday in a statement announcing the news.

“As BET continues to move forward, we will always be grateful to Debra for her leadership and commitment to creating top-notch entertainment that both entertains and empowers.

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