Lyons, who has been president at Focus since 2003 and worked out of its New York offices, is going to focus on his producing career as well as his philanthropic endeavors, notably Edible Schoolyard/NYC. Prior to Focus, Lyons was a casting director who worked on many early Coen brothers movies before moving into producing with movies such as Paul Thomas Anderson's Hard Eight and Boogie Nights and two Austin Powers movies.
His departure comes when Focus' James Schamus and Andrew Karpen arrive back from a busy Cannes market, where the company was selling a big slate, much of which Lyons was involved with. The titles include Paul Wietz's untitled drama based on the memoir Another Bullshit Night in Suck City to Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom with its all-star cast to Hyde Park on the Hudson.
Lyons oversaw movies ranging from Brokeback Mountain and The Constant Gardener to the Coens' Burn After Reading and A Serious Man to the more recent Hanna and Jane Eyre.
"I have had eight fantastic years here at Focus that has allowed me to be part of an incredible team and to work with many of the greatest filmmakers in the world," Lyons said in a statement. "I come to work every day with a group of people who love good movies and are inspired by good filmmaking. It has been a time of great inspiration and satisfaction, but I miss day-to-day producing and feel it's time to let this cycle come to its conclusion. Our slate is in terrific shape and we're having a great year, so it's the right time to make a graceful exit."
Said Schamus: "We are really, really, really going to miss John. For eight years, he has been family not only for all of us at Focus but for all of the many filmmakers he's helped to nurture here. John has been a vital contributor to so many of our successes, and he's easily one of the most beloved and respected production executives out there. Not only does he have impeccable taste and good instincts -- his work always reflects his integrity and intelligence."
– The Hollywood Reporter