Beene was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, and reared in the Atlanta suburbs and has spent his entire career in newspapers on both the editorial and business side. He was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer in 1998 after serving four years as Executive Editor.
His duties include overseeing the flagship Bakersfield Californian as well as the affiliate company Valley Direct. In addition to the daily newspaper, The Californian produces a glossy city lifestyle magazine called BakersfieldLife and a range of digital products including the community portal bakersfield.com. The Tehachapi News, a community weekly about an hour from Bakersfield, is also part of the operation as well as a community telephone book division.
Beene joined The Californian after seven years with The Los Angeles Times, where he worked in the Orange County, South Bay and San Fernando Valley offices serving in a variety of editing and management positions. He was part of the reporting teams awarded the Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the 1992 Los Angeles riots and the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Prior to that, Beene worked as a journalist overseas, serving as Latin American bureau chief in Mexico City for The Dallas Times Herald, an editor at the Spanish News Agency EFE in Madrid and as Cairo bureau chief for United Press International.
He also worked as state manager for UPI in Miami and Birmingham, Alabama, an editor on the UPI Foreign Desk in New York, political writer for UPI in Atlanta and in editing positions at The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal and Warner Robins (Ga.) Daily Sun.
Beene graduated with a degree in history and a minor in journalism from Georgia Southern University.