Pixar president Jim Morris and Walt Disney Animation Studios president Andrew Millstein will continue in his place, as the 73-year-old transitions to an advisory role to end in summer 2019.
Morris and Millstein will report up to Walt Disney Studios President Alan Bergman, while each studio’s respective chief creative officer, Pete Docter and Jennifer Lee, will continue to report to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn.
Catmull leaves behind a 40 year legacy of developing technology for film, and took part in Pixar’s historic release of the first ever computer animated feature (“Toy Story”) in 1995. He was hired by George Lucas in 1979 to lead the computer division at Lucasfilm. He would go on to co-found Pixar in 1986 with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter.
“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.
Disney CEO Bob Iger called Catmull a “pioneer of the intersection of creativity and technology, Ed expanded the possibilities for storytellers along with the expectations of audiences.”
His contributions include five beloved Pixar titles to gross over a billion dollars: Disney’s “Frozen” and “Zootopia,” Pixar’s “Incredibles 2,” “Toy Story 3” and “Finding Dory.”
Read more about Catmull’s esteemed career:
Catmull’s pioneering work in computer animation and visionary leadership in key technology companies including Lucasfilm, Pixar, and Disney over the past 45-plus years changed the face of film. Catmull was hired by George Lucas in 1979 to lead Lucasfilm’s computer division, before co-founding Pixar Animation Studios in 1986 with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter. Pixar released the world’s first feature-length computer animated film, the seminal “Toy Story,” in 1995 and has broken creative and technological boundaries ever since. The studio’s 20 feature films have won 15 Academy Awards and earned more than $13 billion in global box office; its most recent film, “Incredibles 2,” broke records in its debut and is the highest grossing animated film in U.S. box office history.
Catmull’s association with Disney goes back to 1986 with Pixar’s work on the Computer Animation Production System (CAPS), and Disney has released all of Pixar’s feature films. Upon The Walt Disney Company’s acquisition of Pixar in 2006, Catmull became President of both Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios. Since arriving at Disney, Catmull has overseen numerous groundbreaking films from both studios, including five billion-dollar hits – Disney’s “Frozen” and “Zootopia” and Pixar’s “Incredibles 2,” “Toy Story 3,” and “Finding Dory” – alongside such beloved films as Pixar’s “Wall-E,” “Up,” “Inside Out,” and “Coco” and Disney’s “The Princess and The Frog,” “Tangled,” “Wreck-It Ralph,” “Big Hero 6,” and “Moana.”