"Every fan wants hope and that's what we're going to provide them. I think we're headed in the right direction," said Howson, who was formally introduced Friday.
Most of the pieces are in place for making the Blue Jackets competitive, Howson said, though he refused to be pinned down on when that would happen.
"I'm the kind of person who doesn't like to over-promise and under-deliver," he said.
Howson replaced Doug MacLean, the team's original GM who was fired in April. The hiring came just over a week before the June 22-23 NHL draft in Columbus.
"Our No. 1 priority was to find the best person we could to lead our hockey organization," said team president Mike Priest.
Howson said while he hadn't made any personnel decisions for the front office or the ice, he was ready to help the Blue Jackets in the draft and was familiar with prospects the team might be interested in.