This week the long-simmering parlor game over Disney and Pixar’s future was finally resolved when Disney announced that former creative chief John Lasseter would be replaced by Up director Pete Docter (at Pixar) and Frozen co-director Jennifer Lee (at Disney). The two are taking over duties from the Pixar cofounder, who took a leave of absence last fall following allegations of behavioral “missteps,” including unwanted hugs and kisses of female employees. Lasseter is staying on at Disney until the end of the year as a consultant.
Sources say both Docter and Lee were chosen because of their strong track records as well as their people skills—both play well with others, something that is particularly important given the internal tensions that Lasseter stirred and that have been made public in recent months. Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn said in a statement that Docter and Lee embody the spirit, culture, and values of their respective studios.
The only question is, will Disney and Pixar’s new leaders have the ability to not play nice when necessary? As one source says, “John could be tough and say, ‘This is not working.’ He pissed people off. Do either Pete or Jennifer have that in them?”
Docter, who is a member of Pixar’s storied Brain Trust, is more of a known entity, or at least has a long track record at Pixar. Exceptionally tall and introspective, Docter was one of the company’s first hires and went on to write and direct Monster’s Inc., Up, and Inside Out. He also wrote the original stories for all of the Toy Story films. Colleagues describe him as preternaturally calm, even…