John Lasseter, Pixar co-founder, to step down at end of year

NEW YORK — John Lasseter, the co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and the Walt Disney Co.'s animation chief, will step down at the end of the year after acknowledging "missteps" in his behavior with staff members.

Disney announced Friday that Lasseter will stay on through the end of 2018 as a consultant. After that he will depart permanently.

Lasseter in November took what he called a six-month "sabbatical." He apologized "to anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of an unwanted hug" or any other gesture that made them feel "disrespected or uncomfortable."

The 61-year-old Lasseter is the highest-ranking Hollywood executive to be toppled in the wake of the #MeToo movement. He has been a creative force behind every Pixar release as well as Disney hits like "Frozen."