George Lucas appears to be serious about retiring. Lucasfilm Ltd. released a statement today announcing that Kathleen Kennedy, a longtime partner of Steven Spielberg, will be joining the production company as co-chair. Lucas will remain in his current CEO position, but Kennedy’s new role as co-chair will allow him more time to “move forward with his retirement plans”, according to the press release.
Kennedy is an established award winning producer, producing seven Best Picture Academy Award nominations for the likes of E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Seabiscuit, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and War Horse. She got her big break as Spielberg’s assistant in the late 1970s.
Despite the fact that Lucasfilm has put out little work outside of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, the company has remained very successful. In January the San Francisco-based company released the World War II Tuskegee Airmen fighter-pilot action drama Red Tails, which was the first non-Star Wars, non-Indiana Jones movie the studio had produced since 1994′s Radioland Murders.
Kennedy will be stepping down from her own production entity The Kennedy/Marshall Company to fill her new position. She ran the company with her husband Frank Marshall. She is currently finishing up work on Spielberg’s Lincoln and Tony Gilroy’s The Bourne Legacy.
Lucas’ decision to bring on Kennedy was based on her experience and love for movies. In a statement Lucas said:
“As the company grows and expands I wanted to be sure the employees of Lucasfilm have a strong captain for the ship… It was important that my successor not only be someone with great creative passion and proven leadership abilities, but also someone who loves movies.”