Howard T. Owens will exit his post as president of National Geographic Channels U.S. in June.
Owens has been on the job for about two and a half years, having joined the Fox Networks Group division in late 2011. His departure comes just a few weeks after he presided over the Nat Geo Channel/Nat Geo Wild upfront presentation.
Before Nat Geo, Owens was a co-founder with Ben Silverman of the Reveille production banner, which was acquired by Elisabeth Murdoch’s Shine Group in 2008.
“Howard injected remarkable energy into the National Geographic Channels brand,” said Nat Geo Channels U.S. CEO David Lyle. “He has been an invaluable member of our leadership team and we wish him nothing but the best in his future business endeavors.”
Owens is credited with taking the channel into the scripted programming arena with the long-form adaptations of Bill O’Reilly’s books “Killing Kennedy,” “Killing Lincoln” and the upcoming “Killing Jesus.” He also spearheaded the launch of series franchises including “Wicked Tuna,” “Brain Games,” “Life Below Zero” and highly promotable “event” programs such as “SEAL Team Six” and “The ’80s: The Decade That Made Us.”
“We have truly benefited from Howard’s zeal for bringing audiences innovative programming that underscores the uniqueness and depth of the National Geographic Channels brand,” said Fox Networks Group chairman-CEO Peter Rice.
Owens said he was preparing for his “next adventure” and was proud of having been part of the team responsible for “defining the National Geographic Channels as a destination for innovative, original and brand-defining creativity.”
There was no immediate word on whether Nat Geo Channels plans to fill the post.