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BET Appoints Michael Armstrong to Newly Created General Manager Position

BET has named longtime network executive Michael Armstrong to the newly created position of general manager, the network announced Thursday. 

Armstrong, who was previously Viacom International Media Networks' vice president and general manager for revenue and emerging brands, will now drive BET's strategy and operations in his new role, sadn the network. Armstrong, who will be based in New York and will officially report to BET Networks chairman and chief executive officer Debra Lee, will have direct oversight of content strategy and multiplatform scheduling, marketing, corporate communications and operations.

“Today’s announcement outlines key changes to our operating structure that further solidify our position as a thriving global brand,” said Lee in a statement. “Michael exemplifies the values of strong, dynamic leadership - and his vast knowledge of our industry and how our audiences connect with content is unmatched." 

In addition, Jeanine Liburd has been appointed to the new role of chef marketing and communications officer. Liburd, who previously was head of corporate communications, special events and corporate responsibility for the network, will add the responsibility of creative and brand marketing to her duties, overseeing all facets of creative brand development, consumer marketing and cross-business initiatives.

Also, Donna Blackman will serve as the liaison for all internal BET Networks departments with Viacom Media networks shared services, according to the network. 

“Known for their passion for our business and their strong experience in the industry, Jeanine and Donna have a proven track record of developing dynamic strategies that have accelerated growth, elevated brand awareness for BET and engaged consumers worldwide,” Lee said. “These appointments will strengthen our ability to drive growth in ratings and digital metrics, achieve strategic goals and deliver strong financial performance.”

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.