Former Pixar Chief John Lasseter Named Head Of Skydance Animation

Following his departure from The Walt Disney Company following accusations of misconduct and sexual harassment, former Pixar chief John Lasseter has joined Skydance Media as head of Skydance Animation.

Animation visionary John Lasseter has been hired by Skydance Media to head Skydance Animation. In this role, Lasseter will be responsible for establishing the overall strategy and creative direction for the studio as well as overseeing production and operations to "drive the division's artistic growth" and "ensure a robust slate of animated entertainment across all media."

It's a controversial hire by Skydance, especially given Lasseter's background. The former Chief Creative Officer of Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios parted ways with The Walt Disney Company at the end of 2018 following accusations of reported misconduct (sexual harassment) within the company.

Skydance CEO David Ellison's statement on the company's hiring of Lasseter reads:

“John is a singular creative and executive talent whose impact on the animation industry cannot be overstated. He was responsible for leading animation into the digital age, while telling incomparable stories that continue to inspire and entertain audiences around the globe.

And yet we did not enter into this decision lightly. John has acknowledged and apologized for his mistakes and, during the past year away from the workplace, has endeavored to address and reform them.

We look forward to John bringing all of his creative talents, his experience managing large franchises, his renewed understanding of the responsibilities of leadership and his exuberance to Skydance as we continue to expand our animation efforts for the global marketplace.”


Skydance CEO David Ellison met with Skydance's animation team following the hire of Lasseter and reaffirmed his company's zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment. According to Variety, Ellison reassured the team during a town hall that he's committed to creating a safe work environment and reminded them about Skydance's 800-line to report offenses anonymously.

Prior to hiring Lasseter, Skydance brought in a law firm to investigate the claims against the executive. While he didn't share the full report, he did confirm that Disney made no financial settlements on Lasseter's behalf and that no criminal charges were ever filed against him. Variety also reports that Lasseter's contract with Skydance contains "ironclad legal protections," including holding Lasseter financially responsible for any legal claims involving sexual harassment.

Skydance Animation has two animated feature-length films in the works:  Luck, a comedy about the battle between good and bad luck directed by Alessandro Carloni (Kung Fu Panda 3) and written by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger, and Split, a fantasy about a teenager dealing with magical powers directed by Vicky Jenson (Shrek) and written by Linda Woolverton. 

Lasseter will replace Bill Damaschke, a former DreamWorks Animation executive who was hired in October 2017. Ellison hopes Damaschke will remain with the company. Lasseter will report directly to Ellison and will be based in Los Angeles. He will being his new role later this month.
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