Late last year, John Lasseter, the head and chief creative officer of both Pixar Studios and Walt Disney Animation, announced that he would be taking a six-month leave of absence from his role at Disney. This sabbatical coincided with reports of possible sexual misconduct and inappropriate behavior. In announcing his leave of absence, John Lasseter acknowledged what he described as "missteps." Now, after his six-month sabbatical, Disney has announced that John Lasseter will be leaving the company at the end of the year.
John Lasster will officially end his tenure as the head of both of Disney's animation studios at the end of the calendar year. THR reports that John Lasseter will have a consulting role at the company from now until his departure. This exit leaves the two animation studios without a captain. Disney has not yet named a replacement or replacements for the influential figure, but it is expected that Inside Out director Pete Doctor will take on added responsibilities at Pixar, while Frozen director Jennifer Lee's will have an increased role at Disney Animation.
In announcing John Lasster's departure, Disney CEO Bob Iger praised John Lasseter's contributions to the medium, his turnaround of Walt Disney Animation Studios and his assembling of a team of talented storytellers. For his part John Lasseter issued a statement where he cites his continued dedication to animation but seeing the end of the year as the right time to focus on "new creative challenges."
This brings a definitive end to a six-month period where John Lasseter's future at the company seemed very much in limbo. The #MeToo brought to light complaints about Lasseter's behavior and forms of expression. When he announced his leave of absence, John Lasseter addressed his self-described "missteps," saying that it had been brought to his attention that, while it was never his intention, some of his behavior might have made others feel "disrespected or uncomfortable."
John Lasseter leaves behind a legacy in animation that is hard to match. One of the founders of Pixar and the face of all Disney animation for over a decade, John Lasseter oversaw Pixar's highest highs, while also returning Disney Animation back to creative prominence. A champion of CGI animation, John Lasseter directed Toy Story, Toy Story 2 and Cars as well acting as producer or executive producer on all Pixar movies and executive producer on all Walt Disney Animation films.
While this end is probably not what many, including Lasseter, might have imagined for the animation titan, he leaves behind two thriving animation studios. Pixar's Incredibles 2 may enjoy a record-breaking box office when it debuts in theaters next week and Walt Disney Animation Studios' Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 arrives in November. Check out our guides for all of the upcoming movies from both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation.