Disney Studios announced new leadership within its animation division on Friday. Walt Disney Animation Studios President Andrew Millstein will join the team at Blue Sky Studios as co-president, as Disney looks to integrate the newly acquired animation division following its purchase of Fox’s film and TV entertainment assets.
Millstein will serve alongside Blue Sky co-President Robert Baird, who will continue to drive the creative direction of the studio reporting to Disney Studios’ Chief Creative Officer and co-Chairman Alan Horn and co-Chairman Alan Bergman. As Blue Sky readies to build out its upcoming slate, Millstein will oversee day-to-day operations.
Former Blue Sky co-President Andrea Miloro left her role on July 25.
Millstein will report to Jim Morris, who, in addition to serving as president of Pixar, will expand his duties with a supervisory role at Blue Sky.
In addition, “Zootopia” producer and longtime creative executive Clark Spencer was tapped as president of Walt Disney Animation Studios. He will report to Bergman and work alongside animation studios’ Chief Creative Officer Jennifer Lee.
“We are incredibly proud of the strength and depth of leadership in our animation studios, and Andrew, Clark, and Jim are all exemplars of that,” Horn and Bergman said in a joint statement. “The remarkable success of Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios over the past decade is due in large part to the respective leadership of Andrew and Jim and their ability to foster creativity, technology, and culture in equal parts, and we are thrilled that they will be lending their experience to the Blue Sky team along with Robert Baird’s creative guidance.”
They continued, “Clark has been an invaluable leader and contributor at Disney Animation, combining exceptional creative and business instincts, and we’re so pleased he will be leading this historic studio in a key role alongside Jennifer Lee.”
A 22-year Disney veteran, Millstein had served as President of Walt Disney Animation Studios since 2014 and, before that, as general manager since 2008. Under his leadership, the studio produced such animated hits as the Oscar-winning films “Frozen” and “Zootopia,” as well as “Tangled,” “Wreck-It Ralph,” “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” “Big Hero 6” and “Moana.”
Spencer has been with Disney for nearly 30 years, during which he’s produced five Oscar-nominated films for Walt Disney Animation Studios. Spencer began his career at Disney in strategic planning and finance, later overseeing all production and operations at the Florida-based Disney feature animation studio as senior vice president and general manager.
Morris has been with Pixar since 2005 and has overseen a slew of successful and critically acclaimed films, including “Wall-E,” “Up,” “Toy Story 3,” “Inside Out,” “Coco,” and most recently “Toy Story 4.” Prior to joining Pixar, he spent nearly 20 years in executive roles at Lucasfilm.
Disney CEO Bob Iger recently told investors, following the company’s third-quarter earnings report, that the studio was in the midst of figuring out how to integrate and rejigger Fox’s film business — specifically on the live-action side.
The Mouse House has plans to cut down on Fox’s film production and put its stamp on the film business it has inherited.
The studio also recently continued to layoff people at Fox as it attempts to solidify its ranks and meet synergies it set out when it acquired the company. In the latest and third round, Disney cut several dozen employees at the studio as well as Fox, impacting key executives in the production and visual effects departments. At Fox, head of visual effects John Kilkenny, EVP of feature production Dana Belcastro, vice president of feature production Fred Baron, and EVP of postproduction Fred Chandler were among the executives who were let go.