Framestore CEO William Sargent Stepping Down After 26 Years, Handing Reins To Mel Sullivan

Framestore founding member and CEO William Sargent has stepped down after 26 years in the role at the Oscar-winning VFX studio. Mel Sullivan has been made the company’s new CEO, effective from this week.

Going forward, Sargent will focus on the wider Framestore Company 3 Group, the post-production giant that Framestore acquired with Aleph Capital and Crestview partners in 2020.

Sullivan has been with Framestore since 1998, most recently serving as the company’s COO. The new role will see her increase her focus on the company’s strategic direction. New group CFO Claire Price will take on the day-to-day financial responsibilities for Framestore and Company 3 as of July 1.

Sullivan began her career in finance and corporate brokerage. Since joining Framestore, she’s played a pivotal role in growing the company from its London roots and a staff of 150 to a global company with eight offices across four continents and more than 3,000 artists, producers and technologists. She has a deep understanding of Framestore’s business, people and creative culture and balances her day-to-day operational knowledge with a keen strategic focus.

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Sullivan will be supported in the new role by Fiona Walkinshaw, who takes on the role of chief executive officer, film and episodic and Charles Howell, who will serve as Framestore’s president, global advertising and content.

“From day one I always felt like Framestore had a rare, lightning-in-a-bottle quality as a company,” said 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 added, “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 onto 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.”

Since its inception, Framestore has conjured visuals for the likes of Gravity, Paddington 1 and 2, Spider Man: No Way Home, His Dark Materials and Blade Runner 2049.

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