Locksmith Animation Hires Natalie Fischer as CEO, Sarah Smith to Exit

Locksmith Animation has found a new CEO in Natalie Fischer, the former COO of Illumination Entertainment.

She will step in as Locksmith co-founder Sarah Smith exits the company to pursue her own creative endeavors. Smith’s fellow co-founder, Julie Lockhart, has been named president of production.

Lockhart is also the producer on “Ron’s Gone Wrong, the company’s first feature-length CG animation, which is set to be released in October.

Locksmith is currently in production on “That Christmas,” a holiday film based on filmmaker Richard Curtis’s children’s book series. It is also working on an original musical-comedy at Warner Bros. Pictures.

“We are incredibly fortunate that Natalie Fischer has joined us to lead Locksmith’s expansion,” said Locksmith Animation chair & co-founder Elisabeth Murdoch.

“She has a proven track record of success in the animation industry and those instincts and insights combined with Julie Lockhart’s unsurpassed production expertise will guide a new era of growth at our studio. I’d also like to thank our co-founder Sarah Smith for her contributions to Locksmith’s growth, her dedication to building the amazing team at the company, and her vision as a filmmaker. We are grateful for her leadership and stewardship of our first release, ‘Ron’s Gone Wrong.’”

Before joining Illumination in 2009 as head of business development, Fischer was senior VP of business development and strategy at Universal and a business strategist at Channel 4 Television.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Liz, Julie and the incredible Locksmith team at an exciting time in the animation industry,” Fischer said. “We have big opportunities ahead and I look forward to using my experience to help drive this new phase of growth at Locksmith.”

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