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Pixar’s Ed Catmull Announces Retirement

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Pixar Animation Studios co-founder Ed Catmull will retire in 2019.

As Deadline reports, Catmull will conclude his responsibilities as president of both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios in the new year. He will remain president until the end of the year and will act as an advisor until July 2019, when he will retire.

Catmull is the last remaining Pixar co-founder still with the studio. He began the company in 1986 with the late Steve Jobs, who passed away in 2011, and John Lasseter, who parted ways with Pixar earlier this year.

On his retirement, Catmull stated,“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.”

Disney executives also shared remarks on Catmull. Disney CEO Bob Iger said, “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.”

Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn stated, “Ed is a one-of-a-kind talent, a genius who sees beyond the ordinary to the extraordinary. His unique perspective and invaluable leadership have fostered the creation of films and technologies that will stand the test of time.”

The influence and legacy Catmull will leave behind cannot be overstated. His logistical leadership made possible not only the rise of Pixar, but the rise of computer animation itself. He also helped spearhead the charge forward in reviving Disney Animation to its former glory following the Disney acquisition of Pixar in 2006. In 2014, Catmull wrote a book, Creativity, Inc., which ranked on the New York Times bestseller list and has since become a workplace standard.

For the time being, there will be no direct successor to Catmull, responsible for overseeing both Disney and Pixar. Each studio will maintain its current individual leadership already in place now, with president Jim Morris and chief creative officer Pete Docter at Pixar, and president Andrew Millstein and chief creative officer Jennifer Lee at Disney Animation.

What do you think is Ed Catmull’s greatest legacy? What do you hope for the future of Pixar?

Edited by: Kelly Conley

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About Blake Taylor

Blake is a scriptwriter at Elevation Church, where he develops documentary shorts and creative elements as part of the film team. He graduated Appalachian State University studying Electronic Media Production and is an alumni of the Disney College Program. Blake’s favorite films are Mary Poppins, The Lion King, and Toy Story 3. You can find him on Twitter (@blake_242) and visit his blog at blakeonline.com.