Ed Catmull, who co-founded Pixar along with Apple’s Steve Jobs and John Lasseter and in doing so irrefutably changed the animation industry, is retiring after 50 years in the entertainment industry. Catmull oversaw dozens of hit films from Toy Story to Tangled to Frozen to this year’s Incredibles 2.
Catmull, who currently acts as president of both Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, will step down at the end of this year, according to a Disney announcement today, and will stay on as an adviser through July 2019. In a statement, Catmull, 73, had this to say:
“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.”
“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 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.”
Pixar president Jim Morris as well as Walt Disney Animation Studios president Andrew Millstein will continue to oversee operations of their respective studios within the house of mouse, reporting to Walt Disney Studios president Alan Bergman. Creatively, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation will continue to be led by chief creative officers Pete Docter and Jennifer Lee, respectively, reporting to Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn.
Disney chairman and CEO Robert A. Iger also spoke on Catmull’s upcoming retirement in a press release:
“Ed Catmull’s impact on the entertainment industry is immeasurable. 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.”