NEW YORK — The ousted Pixar co-founder and former Disney animation chief and Sonoma resident John Lasseter will head the recently launched animation division of Southern California production company Skydance Media.

Skydance on Wednesday announced that it has hired Lasseter, who stepped down from Disney last year after acknowledging "missteps" in his behavior with staff members. In a statement, Lasseter says he has spent the last year away from the industry in "deep reflection, learning how my actions unintentionally made colleagues uncomfortable."

Skydance CEO David Ellison says he didn't take the decision lightly. He credited Lasseter with attempting to address and reform.

Lasseter, a Sonoma Valley resident, had been one of the most illustrious and powerful figures in animation. He was a creative force behind every Pixar release as well as Disney hits like "Frozen" and "Moana."