Following a six-month sabbatical that began last year, it has now been announced that John Lasseter will make a temporary return to The Walt Disney Company before departing later this year.
- Lasseter will take on a consulting role at Disney through December 31st, 2018.
- After that, he has announced that he will be leaving the company.
- This announcement ends months of speculation that began after accusations of sexual misconduct and other inappropriate behavior emerged last year.
- When those accusations first came to light, Lasseter embarked on a six-month sabbatical and wrote in a memo to co-workers, “Collectively, you mean the world to me, and I deeply apologize if I have let you down. I especially want to apologize 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, shape, or form. No matter how benign my intent, everyone has the right to set their own boundaries and have them respected.”
- At this time, it’s unclear who if anyone will assume the role Lasseter exits, although rumors suggest promotions could be in store for Pete Docter and Jennifer Lee at Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios respectively.
What they’re saying
- Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company: “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. 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.”
- John Lasseter: “The last six months have provided an opportunity to reflect on my life, career and personal priorities. 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.”