John Lasseter, the former head of Walt Disney Co.’s animation studios, has joined Skydance Media as the head of animation, six months after he was ousted at Disney following allegations of inappropriately touching colleagues.
Mr. Lasseter, widely considered one of the most influential animation executives in recent history, was responsible at Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation for shepherding such film hits such as “Toy Story,” “The Incredibles” and “Frozen.”
Once a public face of Disney’s animation efforts, Mr. Lasseter all but disappeared following allegations in late 2017 that he had made colleagues uncomfortable with unwelcome hugging and touching.
He went on a leave that lasted until June of last year, at which point Disney said he would relinquish his role immediately and exit the company at the end of 2018. Even close friends of Mr. Lasseter said he wasn’t returning calls or emails.
“I have spent the last year away from the industry in deep reflection, learning how my actions unintentionally made colleagues uncomfortable, which I deeply regret and apologize for,” Mr. Lasseter said in a statement Wednesday.
Mr. Lasseter joins comedian Louis CK in being among the first entertainment-industry figures to rejoin public life after losing jobs and reputations following #MeToo accusations. Mr. Lasseter would be a formidable competitor to Disney wherever he landed, but he joins a company with a nascent animation business.
Skydance Media is a film and television production company run by David Ellison, the son of billionaire Oracle Corp. co-founder Larry Ellison. (Mr. Ellison’s daughter, Megan, runs a separate production company called Annapurna Pictures.)
Skydance is best known for producing action movies such as last summer’s “Mission: Impossible—Fallout” and a coming reboot of “Top Gun.” It has two animated movies in production.
In a letter to employees announcing Mr. Lasseter’s hiring, Mr. Ellison said Skydance had hired outside counsel to investigate the harassment claims.
“While we would never minimize anyone’s subjective views on behavior, we are confident after many substantive conversations with John, and as the investigation has affirmed, that his mistakes have been recognized,” Mr. Ellison said in the letter, adding that a town hall for employees would be held to discuss the news.