– by Joseph Jammer Medina

This past year or so has been tough for Pixar and Disney Animation. Okay, maybe not so tough in terms of box office, as Coco broke $800 million worldwide, Incredibles 2 broke $1.2 billion and Ralph Breaks the Internet is set to…ahem…break all other sorts of records when it hits later this year, but with John Lasseter taking his leave from both of the animation studios following a sexual harassment scandal, the winds of change sure are blowing.

The leadership at both studios will be changing, with Pete Docter taking the reins at Pixar and Jennifer Lee taking the reins at Disney Animation, both as chief creative officer in their respective companies. Now, it looks like there will be a change in president in the very near future, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Ed Catmull, who founded Pixar way back when with the likes of Steve Jobs and John Lasseter, is planning to step down as president of both Pixar and Disney at the end of this year. But he won’t be done with them right away, as he will continue to work in an advisory role for the next seven months through July of 2019.

“Never in my wildest imagination could I have conceived of the path or the extraordinary people I have worked with over all of these years — the twists and turns, the ups and downs, along with exhilarating passion, talent, and dedication that have led to something extraordinary, something that has an enduring impact in the world,” Catmull said in a statement.

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Compared to the likes of Lasseter and Jobs, Catmull is probably the least well-known of the founders of Pixar, but there is no doubt that he’s made an immeasurable impact on the company an animation industry as a whole. Catmull continued:

“From the request of George Lucas to bring technology to the film industry, to the vision of Steve Jobs, and the extraordinary freedom provided by [Disney executives] Bob Iger, Alan Horn, and Alan Bergman, we continue to dream of stories and ways of making those stories that always surprise. I have the mixed emotions that come with stepping away from a group of people I love, but also with the utmost pride and pleasure that we now have at both Pixar and Disney Animation the most dedicated and imaginative leaders I have worked with.”

There is no plan to replace him, as Jim Morris and Andrew Millstein will continue to perform their duties as president of Pixar and Disney, respectively (as they worked under Catmull before). Both studios will continue to report to Alan Horn, Walt Disney Studios chairman.

“Ed Catmull’s impact on the entertainment industry is immeasurable,” Disney chairman and CEO Iger said. “A pioneer of the intersection of creativity and technology, Ed expanded the possibilities for storytellers along with the expectations of audiences. We’re profoundly grateful for his innumerable contributions, ranging from his pivotal, groundbreaking work at Lucasfilm and Pixar to the exceptional leadership he brought to Pixar and Walt Disney Animation over the last 12 years, and we wish him the best in his well-deserved retirement.”

If you haven’t had a chance to read the book Creativity Inc. by Catmull, I highly recommend it, as it contains a wealth of information regarding creativity and uses stories from Pixar’s history to help inspire.

Without a doubt, this will be a big loss, but it’s nice to see someone of Catmull’s importance actually be able to relax for a change.

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Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.