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Wonya Lucas, who as president and CEO of Hallmark Media focused on making the Hallmark Channel more culturally diverse, is stepping down from her executive position at the end of the year.

A statement released by the company gave no specific reason for Lucas’ departure; she will continue to serve on Hallmark’s board of directors.

In 2020, Lucas replaced veteran Hallmark executive Bill Abbott, who resigned after the network’s decision to pull an ad from online wedding planning company Zola because it featured same-sex couples erupted into controversy.

In her role, Lucas was praised for expanding diversity on Hallmark projects, which had long been criticized for being predominantly white and straight. (“The Christmas House,” the network’s first holiday romance with a same-sex couple, premiered in 2020.) The statement said that Lucas “helped to build a more solid foundation for the business through broadened storytelling with more diverse and inclusive storylines and characters.”

“I am honored to have led this company and am tremendously proud of the progress we’ve made by creating an evolved entertainment experience that inspires meaningful, emotionally connected moments for our audiences,” said Lucas in the statement.

She added, “My passion for the Hallmark brand has grown in deeply rewarding ways and will remain paramount as I continue to help guide Hallmark Media’s future in a more strategically focused capacity.”

Mike Perry, president and CEO of Hallmark Companies, will work closely with Lucas and the Hallmark Media executive leadership team to lead the day-to-day operations of the media business and complete the process of Lucas’ transition.

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