BET NETWORKS ANNOUNCES ENHANCEMENTS TO ITS LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE
Michael D. Armstrong Appointed to Newly Created Position of
General Manager of BET Networks
Jeanine Liburd Promoted to Chief Marketing & Communications Officer
Donna Blackman Elevated to Senior Vice President, Business Operations
NEW YORK – June 29, 2017 – BET Networks, (a subsidiary of Viacom Inc. NYSE: VIA, VIAB), the nation's leading provider of quality content for African-American audiences, today announced a new streamlined structure and enhancements to its leadership team.
Michael D. Armstrong as General Manager, BET Networks. Based in New York and reporting directly to Lee, Armstrong will drive strategy and operations, with direct oversight of Content Strategy & Multiplatform Scheduling, Marketing, Corporate Communications and Operations. He will also liaise closely with teams across Viacom’s Media Networks, including Strategy, Finance and Research & Audience Science. Programming, Ad Sales and Digital will continue to report directly to Lee. Armstrong will officially transition from his current role as Executive Vice President and General Manager, Revenue & Emerging Brands, Viacom International Media Networks next month.
Jeanine Liburd has been appointed Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, a new role at BET Networks. Liburd, who most recently led Corporate Communications, Special Events and Corporate Responsibility for the network, will add Creative & Brand Marketing to her roster of responsibilities. She will oversee all facets of strategic and creative brand development, consumer marketing and cross-business initiatives.
In an expanded role as Senior Vice President of Business Operations, Donna Blackman will serve as the liaison for all internal BET Networks departments with Viacom Media Networks shared services. She will be responsible for strategic and long-range planning processes, evaluating and establishing external partnerships, developing, monitoring and implementing financial strategies including growing ancillary revenue and live events. Liburd and Blackman will both report directly to Armstrong and are based in New York.
“Today’s announcement outlines key changes to our operating structure that further solidify our position as a thriving global brand,” said Debra Lee, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, BET Networks. “Michael exemplifies the values of strong, dynamic leadership - and his vast knowledge of our industry and how our audiences connect with content is unmatched. 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. These appointments will strengthen our ability to drive growth in ratings and digital metrics, achieve strategic goals and deliver strong financial performance.”
About Michael D. Armstrong
Prior to this new role, Armstrong was Executive Vice President and General Manager, Revenue and Emerging Brands, Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN). In this role, Armstrong manages the development and expansion of BET, Paramount Channel, and Spike internationally and oversees International Program Sales, Affiliate Sales, and Viacom Velocity International, VIMN’s ad sales division.
Armstrong has led many firsts for the company including the creation and launch of Paramount Channel internationally in 2012, which now has 12 feeds and is the largest ad-supported film channel in the world, available in almost 100 countries and 106 million homes outside the US. In 2016, Armstrong co-led the launch of BET Play, Viacom’s first direct-to-consumer subscription video on demand offering for adult audiences, which is available in 100 markets internationally. Under Armstrong’s guidance, BET is now available internationally in more than 72 countries and 39 million homes. Armstrong has also been instrumental in growing Spike’s distribution internationally, having working with local market leadership to launch the first Spike channel outside the US in 2015 in the UK, followed by Benelux, the Middle East, Australia, Hungary and Russia.
Armstrong first joined the company in 1998 and held a variety sales and affiliate marketing roles for brands including MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and CMT in both the New York and Chicago offices. He joined VIMN in 2011 as Senior Vice President and General Manager of BET International and Paramount Channel, having previously been at BET Networks from May 2006.
Armstrong received a B.S. in marketing from Hampton University, where he also serves on the board. He received an M.B.A. in strategy and marketing from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he was honored with the Distinguished Young Alumni Award in 2012. He is a member of the International Academy of Television Entertainment Arts & Sciences; is the Immediate Past Chair for the NAMIC (National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications) Board of Directors; Chairman of the Board for the Dance Theatre of Harlem and Board of Directors for Public Radio International (PRI).
About Jeanine Liburd
Liburd joined BET Networks in 2007 after working with various divisions under the Viacom banner in 2000. Most recently, she was Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications for Viacom, where she oversaw all media relations initiatives and corporate messages for the company’s business units, including MTV Networks, BET Networks and Paramount Pictures. Prior to that, she was Vice President of Corporate Communications for MTV Networks.
Before joining MTV Networks, Liburd was Vice President at Robinson, Lerer and Montgomery (RLM), a strategic communications firm, where she worked with clients such as Oxygen, CNBC, AOL and Showtime. Prior to communications, she worked on urban and family policy within New York Mayor Dinkins’ administration, Donna Shalala and the Department of Health and Human Services and with the Clinton administration.
Affiliated with a number of professional, civic and cultural organizations, Liburd serves on the board of ColorComm, the Corporate Advisory Council for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board for New York Public Radio, the Apollo EmpowHer steering committee and the Board of Directors for the Weeksville Heritage Center.
She is a graduate of Vassar College and holds an M.S. in Urban Policy from The New School University for Social Research.
About Donna Blackman
Donna Meacham Blackman is a Financial and Strategic Planning Executive recognized for her ability to maximize corporate results and individual performance. Prior to expanding her role , she served as Senior Vice President of Finance for BET Networks, where she led all planning, budgeting and financial reporting for the organization, while providing strategic advice to the Chairman and CEO. She also served as a financial business partner to the operating units, including providing accounting guidance, business insights and strategic advice on how best to position the division for success.
Prior to joining BET, she held several finance leadership positions at Marriott International, Inc., including Vice President, Development Asset Management, Vice President, Finance - Global Lodging Services, Vice President, Investor Relations and Director, Financial Reporting and Accounting Policy.
Prior to joining Marriott, Blackman was a Senior Manager with KPMG LLP in New York and Washington, DC, where she served a variety of both public and private clients in the financial services, broadcasting, University and Not for Profit industries.
Blackman is very active in the community and currently serves as Treasurer of the NEA Foundation Board and as a member of the Robert H Smith School Advisory Board. She previously served on the Board for the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of Inroads, the Women and Family Issues Executive Committee of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and as Vice President of the Washington DC chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants.
Blackman is a Certified Public Accountant and she holds an MBA degree from the Robert H Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Accounting from North Carolina State University.
ABOUT BET NETWORKS
BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIA.B), is the nation's leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and sub-Saharan Africa. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions: BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; CENTRIC, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the African-American Woman; BET Music Networks - BET Jams, BET Soul and BET Gospel; BET Home Entertainment; BET Live, BET’s growing festival business; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET around the globe.