The Nat Geo boss will leave in June having been in charge of the channel since late 2011.
Prior to joining Nat Geo, Owens was at US prodco Reveille and announcing his departure to staff, NGC’s US CEO David Lyle said Owens was returning to independent production.
During Owens’ tenure the channel moved into interactive brain-related programming with Brain Games and related shows and into drama with the Killing Kennedy and Killing Lincoln projects.
In his memo to staff, Lyle said: “It is hard for me to summarise Howard’s importance to the channels these last three years… His passion, his judgment, his unwillingness to accept second best, his taste, his contacts, his production experience – all wrapped up in his huge drive and delightful chaos have been crucial to all the success we have had in the last couple of years.”
Prior to Reveille, Owens was an agent a William Morris.