Filmmaker George Lucas is retiring from LucasFilm, the company he founded in 1971. Producer Kathleen Kennedy has been named as his successor. The Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope director will still serve as chief executive, and will be a co-chairman alongside his successor for one year. Here's what George Lucas had to say about stepping away from LucasFilm.

"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. It was important that my successor not only be someone with great creative passion and proven leadership abilities, but also someone who loves movies."

The 58-year-old Kathleen Kennedy has served as producer alongside both George Lucas and Steven Spielberg on such blockbusters as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, The Goonies, Back to The Future, Schindler's List, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and War Horse, just to name a few. Here's what Steven Spielberg had to say about the announcement.

"Kathy has been a member of both of our families going into a fourth decade so it does not feel like she is going to another galaxy far, far away. She will get just as much support from me with Lucasfilm as George has given both of us all these years."

Kathleen Kennedy will oversee LucasFilm, the special effects house Industrial Light and Magic, Skywalker Sound, the video game arm LucasArts, and an animation unit which produces the TV series Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

While Lucasfilm doesn't currently have any live-action feature films in production, Kathleen Kennedy will continue to oversee the 3D conversion of Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones all the way through Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi. There is also an untitled animated movie in the works, of which no details have been revealed. And Star Wars Detours, the live action television series based on the popular franchise, is still moving forward. On the video game front, LucasArts, which hasn't released a game in two years, also revealed plans for the video game Star Wars 1313, which is set in the criminal underground of George Lucas' sprawling universe.

Here's what Kathleen Kennedy had to say about taking over for the legendary filmmaker.

"I thought it was an incredible opportunity for George to ask me to step into what has become such an incredible legacy that he has created over the years. George and I have not had time to sit down and focus on the specifics. I'm certainly fortunate that he's not going anywhere."

The new executive will commute between Los Angeles and LucasFilm's San Francisco headquarters. She is also relinquishing her share in Kennedy/Marshall Productions. Her partner and husband, Frank Marshall, will take on her responsibilites.