John Lasseter To Leave Disney-Pixar At End Of Year Following 'Missteps'; Will Focus On New Creative Challenges

Following accusations of misconduct, John Lasseter will serve in a consulting role at The Walt Disney Company before departing the company at the end of the year to 'focus on new creative challenges.'

John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer of Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios, will leave The Walt Disney Company at the end of the year, it was announced today. His last official day will be December 31, 2018. Until then, he will remain with the company in a consulting role.

Lasseter has been on a "sabbatical" for six months following accusations of reported misconduct within the company. According to accusations, Lasseter was well-known within the company for hugging employees, with some insiders even making claims of him "grabbing, kissing, making comments about physical attributes." In light of the accusations, Lasseter admitted to having "a number of difficult conversations" and acknowledged "missteps" at the company before taking a leave of absence.

The decision to part ways with Lasseter is a huge blow for Disney. Lasseter was the creative force behind Pixar Animation and Walt Disney Animation and a true visionary. He helped popularize computer-graphic animation, directing early films like 1995's groundbreaking Toy Story, as well as A Bug's Life (1998), Toy Story 2 (1999). He currently holds the title Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, and Principal Creative Advisor for Walt Disney Imagineering.

“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,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company said today. “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.”

“The last six months have provided an opportunity to reflect on my life, career 
and personal priorities,” added John Lasseter. “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.”

Under his guidance, Pixar has made more than $6 billion at the U.S. box office. Filling his shoes certainly won't be an easy task, but Pete Doctor, director of Up and Monsters, Inc., and Jennifer Lee, director of Frozen, are expected to take on added responsibilities at Pixar and Disney Animation, respectively.
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