Mr Evans takes over from Dr Emyr Roberts who became the Chief Executive of Natural Resources Wales in November.
The department is responsible for all aspects of education and skills in Wales as well as the Welsh language.
Mr Evans, who is a fluent Welsh speaker, is currently the department’s Director for Skills, Higher Education and Lifelong Learning. He joined the Welsh Government in September 2010 following a career in both the private and voluntary sectors, including two years as Director of Business in the Community, Wales.
The appointment follows a Civil Service-wide competition, chaired independently by a member of the Civil Service Commission.
Derek Jones said:
“This was a tough competition with a field of outstanding candidates. I am very pleased we have been able to appoint someone of Owen’s calibre to this very important role, supporting the Minister for Education and Skills and leading delivery on one of the most important and challenging areas of Welsh Government business.”
Owen Evans said:
“I am very proud to have been offered this role. Improving educational outcomes and skills is something I have been passionately committed to for a very long time. To have the opportunity to lead the department as we deliver an ambitious Government programme of change is a tremendous honour. I’m looking forward to working with the Minister and colleagues across the Welsh Government to make a real difference on something that really matters to everyone in Wales.”
Mr Evans takes up his new post with immediate effect.