Keith Bellows, editor-in-chief of National Geographic Traveler since 1998, will be leaving the publication as part of a broader editorial reorganization at the National Geographic Society.
Executive editor Norie Quintos has been named acting editor-in-chief, effective immediately, while a search is conducted for a new editor-in-chief. Quintos will report to Chris Johns, chief content officer, who made the announcements in an internal memo to staff.
"There is enormous opportunity in the broad category of travel, both domestic and International," Johns wrote to staff. "Our goal is to expand our offerings and increase our digital assets and impact."
He wrote that Bellows will be leaving National Geographic "to concentrate on writing books and to pursue projects within the travel industry."
Bellows is the fourth longtime chief travel editor to be leaving a major consumer media brand since it was announced in September 2013 that Pilar Guzman would replace Klara Glowczewska at Conde Nast Traveler. Nancy Novogrod announced her retirement as editor-in-chief of Travel + Leisure in July, and is succeeded by Nathan Lump.
Glowczewska has since emerged as editor-in-chief of a revived Town & Country Travel, which will be published quarterly.
Additionally, longtime chief travel editor of USA Today, Veronica Stoddart, was among those laid off from the newspaper last month.
A spokesperson for National Geographic Traveler said Bellows will continue to work on Traveler projects such as the launch of the World Legacy Awards at ITB in Berlin this March.
In a statement, Bellows said, "It's been a terrific ride, but ... the magazine needs new blood, and I need new challenges. I want to take a break from management and get back to devoting my energy to writing, big-idea development and, especially, cultivating travel as a powerful learning tool.
"I want to remain a voice in travel as it continues to become a bigger force in cultural literacy and in the world economy. ... Any change comes with its share of trepidation, but I've been thinking of this for a long while. I will still be involved with the sales team on representing the travel brand."