A fine trade paper reports:
Disney has discussed bringing embattled Pixar boss John Lasseter back to the company in a new role, six months after the head of the studio’s animation division took a self-imposed sabbatical following reported complaints of workplace misconduct.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Disney executives are weighing a new role that would give Lasseter less managerial power but full creative influence over the studio’s considerable animated projects. The proposed new scenario would see Lasseter’s ability to hire or fire staff “removed or contained,” the report said.
I always leaned toward Mr. Lasseter coming back to the studio. I had my doubts for awhile after all the negative press reports kept spilling out, but the fact J.L. might come back in a changed capacity makes sense from the corporation's viewpoint. (If he couldn't hire and fire the way he used to, perhaps the fear of professional reprisals might go down among staff that feels threatened or intimidated. And the returning animation chief would have reasons to be on good behavior. How those things would work in day-to-day practice remains to be seen).
Let's face it: the Mouse always had incentives to bring Mr. Lasseter back into the Walt Disney Company. Diz Co. paid billions for Pixar back when Iger took the helm, and a lot of those billions were for securing the talents of John Lasseter and Ed Catmull. Short of Mr. Lasseter doing activities that rivaled Harvey Weinstein, the company probably always intended to have him return.