The 73 year old president of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, Ed Catmull, has announced his retirement, marking the end of an illustrious career. This announcement follows news of another executive shakeup at Pixar as accusations of sexual misconduct during the #MeToo movement brought down former CCO John Lasseter, which, in turn, promoted Pete Doctor and Jennifer Lee to become the new Chief Creative Officers.
Starting off his career with George Lucas and Lucasfilm, Catmull went on to become one of three people credited for the start of an animation revolution. Catmull, along with Steve Jobs and the aforementioned Lasseter, created Pixar in 1986 and found success with their inaugural film, Toy Story – the first-ever completely computer animated feature film. The studio currently boasts 15 Academy Awards and continually churns out hits like Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, and Inside Out, among many other notable films. In 2006, Catmull became the president of both Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios, after Walt Disney's acquisition of the company. And now, he's planning on stepping down.
Catmull's decision to step down, as reported by THR, signifies the end of an era; 2019 marks the first year that none of the original co-founders will work for Pixar since the company's inception. However, Catmull has decided to remain an adviser through the year to help ease the transition, as a successor has not been announced. The Pixar co-founder succinctly summed up his thoughts on his retirement, stating, "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.”
Despite the onslaught of changes to their executive team, Pixar soldiers on with the highly anticipated Toy Story 4 on the horizon. Fresh off the success of the long awaited Incredibles 2, Pixar also appears to be tapping into the nostalgia factor that's motivating a large swath of Hollywood today. Perhaps attempting to capitalize on this trend, there are rumors circulating of both a Brave sequel and a potential Incredibles 3.
Though the Pixar co-founder will soon no longer have a part in the inner-workings of the company he created, the films produced in the future will owe him their existence. Without the ingenuity and vision of the company's initial, integral members, animation would not be what it is today. Ed Catmull has undoubtedly left his mark on the animation world, and beyond.