Bob built BET literally from an idea into a powerhouse.
As he moves on to Chairman from CEO, he leaves a legendary legacy and, also, a very worthy successor in Debra Lee." Freston added, "I couldn't be more thrilled that Debra is taking the helm of BET and am confident that, under her leadership, we'll have a smart and smooth transition.
"I could not have chosen a better chief executive and outstanding leader to succeed me at BET than Debra Lee, and that's what makes this announcement so important to me and positive for BET's future," said Johnson.
One of the most powerful women in entertainment, she served as Chairman and CEO of BET and also created the sister network CENTRIC.
She first joined BET as Vice President of BET's legal affairs department. Box Office and The First Family for the new CENTRIC Network.
Lee's sphere of influence also extends well beyond BET where she is regarded as one of the country's top female executives in the realm of Fortune 500 companies.
She serves on the corporate board of directors of global business icons Marriott International and Eastman Kodak Company, and regionally for Washington Gas & Light Company.
She stepped up to the level of President and Chief Operating Officer in March 1996.