John Lasseter to leave Disney and Pixar at the end of the year

John Lasseter to leave Disney and Pixar at the end of the year

John Lasseter, the chief creative officer of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, will depart the company at the end of the year.

The studio announced Friday that after a leave of absence, Lasseter will take on a consulting role with the company before leaving at the end of 2018.

The Pixar co-founder, who helped shepherd global Disney hits like Toy Story and Frozen, announced in November that he would be taking a six-month sabbatical, following several allegations of misconduct. At the time, he acknowledged “missteps” and apologized to “anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of an unwanted hug or any other gesture they felt crossed the line in any way.”

Lasseter’s leave of absence coincided with an article published in The Hollywood Reporter, in which Lasseter was accused of “grabbing, kissing, making comments about physical attributes.”

“The last six months have provided an opportunity to reflect on my life, career and personal priorities,” Lasseter said in a statement announcing his departure. “While I remain dedicated to the art of animation and inspired by the creative talent at Pixar and Disney, I have decided the end of this year is the right time to begin focusing on new creative challenges.  I am extremely proud of what two of the most important and prolific animation studios have achieved under my leadership and I’m grateful for all of the opportunities to follow my creative passion at Disney.”

No other name has been as synonymous with Disney animation of the last few decades as Lasseter: He began his career working at Disney, before moving to Pixar in 1984, going on to direct hits like Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, and Cars. After Disney acquired Pixar in 2006, Lasseter became chief creative officer of both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios and oversaw acclaimed films like Coco, Frozen, and Inside Out.

Lasseter’s departure comes days before Incredibles 2, on which Lasseter served as a producer, hits theaters on June 15.

“John had a remarkable tenure at Pixar and Disney Animation, reinventing the animation business, taking breathtaking risks, and telling original, high quality stories that will last forever,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement. “We are profoundly grateful for his contributions, which included a masterful and remarkable turnaround of The Walt Disney Animation Studios. One of John’s greatest achievements is assembling a team of great storytellers and innovators with the vision and talent to set the standard in animation for generations to come.”

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