This comes as a complete shocker.

Stephen Hill, BET Programming President is exiting his position at the network which was acquired by Viacom in 2000. The news comes as a surprise as the platform was on a successful track with its digital engagement and progressive original content.

Under Hill’s guise, the network has seen growing ratings with shows such as The Real Husbands of Hollywood, Being Mary Jane, Madiba the skyrocketing success of The New Edition biopic and most recently the much talked about, The Quad starring Anika Noni Rose.

The news also comes at a time when BET was listed as one of six “core brands” for Viacom as part of the CEO’s plan to rejuvenate the media conglomerate, notes the Hollywood Reporter.

Debra Lee, BET’s CEO, informed employees during a meeting, Wednesday afternoon. She made sure to note his tremendous contributions to the brand such as the Prince Tribute, James Brown and Michael Jackson, and performances from Beyoncé & Kendrick Lamar.

Hill, who has been with the network for 18 years also addressed his colleagues. The lengthy letter traced his early beginnings at BET on through his experiences to present day.

He noted that he will officially say goodbye on Friday, March 31.

“This Friday, 6,549 days after I took my first step through the doors of BET, I will walk my last one out,” he wrote. “It has been my honor to serve this brand in that span and I am thrilled to have been able to be a member of the teams that ideated and created so many spectacles, moments, memories and miracles. It’s been fulfilling to be part of huge changes that literally shifted culture.”

Via: Ebony