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Published On: Fri, Jan 11th, 2019

‘Toy Story’ creator John Lasseter will head Skydance Animation

Pixar co-founder and former Disney animation John Lasseter has been hired to run Skydance Animation.

Skydance CEO David Ellison made the announcement via memo, which comes after Disney decided to part ways with the award-winning animation exec last year after putting him on a six-month leave of absence amid accusations of repeated misconduct and his admission of “missteps.”

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

He added: “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.”

In his new role, Lasseter will be tasked with setting the overall strategy and creative direction for Skydance’s animation division, He will oversee production and operations to “ensure a robust slate of animated entertainment across all media.”

“I’m grateful to David and the Skydance team and know that I have been entrusted with an enormous responsibility,” Lasseter said. “It is a distinct privilege that I will relish.”

Lasseter, who will report directly to Ellison, will be based in Los Angeles and start later this month. He takes over for Bill Damaschke, who held the title of President of Animation and Family Entertainment. Ellison said he hopes Damaschke will stay on.

The filmmaker’s legacy began with 1995’s Toy StoryA Bug’s Life (1998), Toy Story 2 (1999), Cars (2006) and Cars 2 (2011), and he executive produced all Pixar features since Monsters, Inc. (2001). He also exec produced all of Disney’s output since 2006, which included the monster hit Frozen.

His Pixar movies have grossed more than $13 billion at the box office.

Lasseter’s exit from Pixar/Disney happened during the production of Toy Story 4, leading in part to some of the delays of that film.

 

A 2002 photo of animator and director John Lasseter. photo/ Eric Charbonneau

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