BET adding 3 to exec suite

Focus is on digital, programming

Viacom-owned BET Networks has added former AOL executives Janet Rolle and Alvin Bowles as well as Viacom veteran Jeanine Liburd to its senior management team as part of an effort to better meet the needs of its original programming and digital expansion strategy.

Rolle will join BET Networks on April 16 as executive vp and chief marketing officer, overseeing domestic marketing activities for each of the company's cable networks; the newly formed Digital Media Group, which includes, BET Mobile and BET OnDemand; and current new business initiatives, which include BET Home Entertainment and BET Pictures.

Liburd has been named senior vp communications and public affairs, effective April 9. She will be responsible for managing communications, public relations, public affairs and special events.

Bowles has been tapped as senior vp integrated marketing, also effective April 9. All three executives will report to BET Networks chairman and CEO Debra Lee.

The appointments come as BET Networks restructures its marketing and communications departments in an effort to better address the needs of the company's viewers and advertisers. The restructuring also is designed to support the company's further expansion into digital platforms and new business initiatives.

BET Networks said the most significant change is the creation of the integrated marketing department, which is primarily charged with developing cross-platform marketing opportunities for sales clients and overseeing the integration of clients' brands into programming across all platforms.

"Over the last 18 months, BET Networks has experienced significant growth in its development of original programming and entry into digital entertainment platforms as the media and entertainment landscape has been evolving," Lee said. "Our company's success over its first 26 years was based on our ability to swiftly adjust to a rapidly changing business environment, and our future success will be based on the same. I am confident that the new leadership and vision of Janet, Jeanine and Alvin will allow us to serve our audiences and our advertisers in a way that is meaningful and forward-thinking."

Rolle most recently was vp and GM of AOL Black Voices and Women's and Lifestyle Programming, where she oversaw content and editorial programming for the Black Voices site and other sites in the women's and lifestyle arena.

Liburd has spent seven years at Viacom, most recently as senior vp corporate communications, responsible for overseeing media relations initiatives and corporate messages.

Bowles most recently was publisher of AOL Black Voices, overseeing multicultural sales across AOL Media Networks.