Kathleen Kennedy named co-chair of Lucasfilm

George Lucas, left, and producer Kathleen Kennedy.

(CBS News) Producer Kathleen Kennedy has been named co-chair of Lucasfilm, positioning her to take over the company as founder George Lucas moves forward with plans to retire.

Lucas, 68, plans to remain CEO and become co-chairman of the board, and will work with Kennedy to transition into her new role, it was announced Friday.

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

"George is a true visionary," Kennedy said. "I've seen him build Lucasfilm from a small rebel unit in Northern California to an international fully integrated entertainment company. I'm excited to have the chance to work with such an extraordinary group of talented people."

She added, "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. I feel fortunate to have George working with me for the next year or two as I take on this role - it is nice to have Yoda by your side."

Kennedy, a seven-time Oscar nominee, is known for working on projects with longtime collaborator Stephen Spielberg. Along with producing partner Frank Marshall, the Los Angeles Times notes, she produced the "Indiana Jones," "Jurassic Park" and "Bourne" franchises, as well as "War Horse" and Spielberg's upcoming "Lincoln" biopic.