According to a story at Deadline Hollywood, George Lucas will step back his day-to-day running of Lucasfilm, stepping down from Chairman of the company's board to become Co-chair with Kathleen Kennedy, a producer with whom he has a long history. Lucas will remain the CEO but Kennedy is reportedly being groomed to become Chairman and CEO one day. As a result, she will scale back her work with Kennedy/Marshall Co, a production company which she runs with Frank Marshall.
“I’ve spent my life building Lucasfilm and as I shift my focus into other directions I wanted to make sure it was in the hands of someone equipped to carry my vision into the future,” said George Lucas in a statement. “It was important that my successor not only be someone with great creative passion and proven leadership abilities, but also someone who loves movies. I care deeply about my employees—it is their creativity and hard work that has made this company what it is today. As the company grows and expands I wanted to be sure the employees of Lucasfilm have a strong captain for the ship. I also care deeply about our fans and it was important to have someone who would carry on the passion and care that I’ve given the films over the years. So for me Kathy was the obvious choice, she is a trusted friend and one of the most respected producers and executives in the industry.”
For her part, Kennedy said, “George and I have talked about the enormous opportunities that lie ahead for the company, and as George moves towards retirement I am honored that he trusts me with taking care of the beloved film franchises.”
It's unclear exactly what her role will be in the immediate future, but one has to wonder, now that Lucas is reportedly done with Star Wars as a property and unlikely to make another Indiana Jones film right away, whether naming a successor might be a clever way for him to quietly "allow" follow-ups to those classic films to happen without being directly involved with them.