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Debra Lee, Chairman and CEO of BET, joins Twitter’s board

TechCrunch TechCrunch 16/05/2016 Connie Loizos

Debra Lee, who has been CEO of Viacom’s Black Entertainment Television (BET) since 2005 and its chairman since 2006, has joined the board of Twitter. She tweeted out the news earlier today.

Twitter’s executive chairman, Omid Kordestani, quickly congratulated her publicly, too, via tweet (natch).

Lee has been with BET for most of her career, joining in 1986 as a VP and the company’s general counsel. She has also been the company’s chief operating officer and served as its president in the ensuing years. Prior to joining BET, she spent five years as an attorney with the Washington, D.C.-based law firm Steptoe & Johnson.

Twitter is far from Lee’s only board appointment. She’s also serves as a director with the Washington Gas Light Company, WGL Holdings Inc., Marriott International, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, Bet Holdings LLC, Girls Inc., the Telecommunications Development Fund, and the National Cable Television Association.

Lee has previously sat on the boards of Revlon, Eastman Kodak, and Genuity, a major Internet carrier during the dot.com era that subsequently went bankrupt.  

According to a newly issued statement from Twitter, Lee will also serve as a member of the company’s  Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and as chairperson of the committee.

Lee joins two other women on the board of Twitter. British businesswoman Martha Lane Fox was appointed to the board last month, along with Hugh Johnston, vice chairman and CFO of PepsiCo.

In late 2013, the company also appointed former publishing executive Marjorie Scardino to its board. Indeed, following the company’s annual shareholder meeting on May 25, Scardino will preside over meetings of Twitter’s independent directors, approve proposed meeting agendas and schedules, and call meetings of the board or independent directors.

In her new role, Scardino succeeds Peter Currie, whose term is ending, along with that of Hollywood exec Peter Chernin.

Kordestani is also somewhat new to the company, having become its executive chairman in October of last year.

Previously, Kordestani famously  led Google’s business operations from its earliest days, transitioning out of his operational role after a decade with the company and more recently becoming an advisor to its founders as they created a new operating structure and formed the public holding company now known as Alphabet. Kordestani left as he was joining Twitter.

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