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Disney announces exit of animation chief John Lasseter


By Jill Serjeant

(Reuters) - Walt Co head and co-founder of John Lasseter, regarded as a modern day Walt because of his creativity and commercial success, will leave at the end of the year, the company said on Friday.

Lasseter was the creative force behind movie hits like "Toy Story," "Frozen," and "Finding Nemo," that won and reaped billions of dollars at the box office.

Friday's decision, announced in a statement, followed a six month leave of absence by Lasseter after what he called "missteps," including unwanted hugs that made employees uncomfortable.

"Following his sabbatical, will assume a consulting role at until December 31, 2018, at which time he will be leaving the company," Disney said.

Disney did not announce a replacement but noted in the statement that Lasseter had assembled "a team of great storytellers and innovators with the vision and talent to set the standard in for generations to come."

Lasseter, 61, said in the statement that "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 and inspired by the creative talent at and Disney, I have decided the end of this year is the right time to begin focusing on new creative challenges," he added.

Lasseter joined the company in 2006 when Disney bought Animation Studios.

A pioneer in computer animation, Lasseter was the driving creative force behind Disney's success in animated films over the past decade. He is of and Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Disney animation and Pixar films have sold roughly $14 billion worth of tickets worldwide since Lasseter joined Disney, according to a analysis of data from the Box Office Mojo website.

Lasseter took his leave after a report in the last November that said some women at Disney had been made uncomfortable by physical contact from him.

He apologised in November in a memo to employees who felt "disrespected or uncomfortable," but said his intent was "benign."

Multiple accusations of sexual misconduct against entertainers, and politicians in the past year have led to many being fired or to resignations. The scandal inspired a widespread #MeToo by victims of sexual harassment or abuse.

Lasseter was absent earlier this week from the world premiere in Hollywood for Pixar's next release, "The Incredibles 2" on June 15.

said this week that the movie is on pace to become its biggest animated pre-seller ever.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant, Additional reporting by in Bengaluru, Editing by and Diane Craft)

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, June 09 2018. 06:15 IST