L-R: Sir William Sargent and Mel Sullivan
(Courtesy of Framestore)
Sir William Sargent, CEO and founding member of Oscar-winning VFX studio Framestore, whose work includes blockbusters such as “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” and “No Time to Die,” has revealed he is stepping down.
Chief operating officer Mel Sullivan will replace him, with a mandate to focus on the company’s strategic direction.
Sargant, who has been at Framestore for 26 years, will remain with the wider business, focusing on the Framestore Company 3 Group.
CFO Claire Price will oversee the finances of Framestore and Company 3 from July while Fiona Walkinshaw is upped to CEO of film and episodic and Charles Howell serves as president of global advertising and content.
Sullivan comes from a finance and corporate brokerage background. She joined Framestore in 1998 and is described as having “played a pivotal role” in helping the company grow from a London-based VFX studio to a global player with eight offices across four continents. Since she has been at the company, it has blossomed from a headcount of 150 to 3,000, which includes artists, producers and technologists.
“From day one I always felt like Framestore had a rare, lightning-in-a-bottle quality as a company,” says Sullivan. “I think it stems from a unique mixture of creativity, collaboration and boldness of vision – it sets our work apart and it sets our people apart, and it’s something we’ve been keen to hold onto throughout the integration of studios in Montreal, Vancouver and Melbourne, the growth of our Mumbai studio and the strides we’re making in fields like real-time, machine learning and virtual production.”
“I’ve been constantly amazed by the people here and what they do, and it’s my absolute pleasure to be playing an even bigger part in Framestore’s story as we move forward. I’m grateful to William for his ongoing support, and to an incredible management team whose diligence and expertise have helped so much on this ongoing journey.”
Sargent said: “Framestore has grown and evolved in startling ways since we started the company with five people and a big idea. From ad spots and pop promos for David Bowie and Madonna we’ve moved into blockbuster franchises, tentpole episodic productions and landmark theme park installations. In less than five years the company has doubled in size and expanded into three new territories, so it definitely feels like Mel is taking the reins at another pivotal stage of the company’s evolutionary growth. I have absolutely no doubt that under her stewardship we will see the company continue its ambitious trajectory.”
Variety's K.J. Yossman contributed to this post.