Toy Story director John Lasseter to leave Disney and Pixar after 'missteps'

The 61-year-old had previously taken a six-month sabbatical

Toy Story director John Lasseter to leave Disney and Pixar after 'missteps'

Pixar Animation Studios chief creative officer John Lasseter. Picture by: USA TODAY Network/SIPA USA/PA Images

Pixar's John Lasseter is to leave the studio and its parent company Disney at the end of the year, the companies have confirmed.

Lasseter was one of the key figures behind Pixar's success, directing films including the first two entries in both the Toy Story and Cars series.

Since 2007, Lasseter - who has won two Oscars - has helped oversee both the Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar output as chief creative officer, serving as executive producer on hits such as Frozen.

However, last November it emerged that Mr Lasseter would take a six month leave of absence, with the filmmaker admitting to 'missteps'.

The decision followed allegations of unwanted physical contact with employees.

In a memo to employees at the time, he apologised to "anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of an unwanted hug or any other gesture they felt crossed the line in any way, shape, or form".

In a statement quoted by US media, Disney now says Mr Lasseter will continue work in a consulting role until December 31st before leaving the company.

Lasseter himself observed: "The last six months have provided an opportunity to reflect on my life, career and personal priorities.

"While I remain dedicated to the art of animation and inspired by the creative talent at Pixar and Disney, I have decided the end of this year is the right time to begin focusing on new creative challenges."

Disney chief Robert Iger said John had a 'remarkable tenure' at the two companies and helped 'reinvent the animation business'.

He added: "We are profoundly grateful for his contributions, which included a masterful and remarkable turnaround of The Walt Disney Animation Studios."