Jony Ive, Apple’s inspirational designer, is assuming a new position as Chief Design Officer at the company. The move will see him retain control over industrial design and user interface divisions at Apple, but with a step back from day-to-day operations.
The news came to light in a profile of Ive written by Stephen Fry for The Telegraph. Hardware design will now be overseen on a daily basis by Richard Howarth, while software will be UI designer Alan Dye. Both are long-time employees of Apple. Until recently, Ive has assumed the role of Senior Vice President of Design. Ive explained to Fry why we shouldn’t worry about his move:
“Those two are as good as it gets. Richard was lead on the iPhone from the start. He saw it all the way through from prototypes to the first model we released. Alan has a genius for human interface design. So much of the Apple Watch’s operating system came from him.”
The reshuffle will, in his own words, free Ive “up from some of the administrative and management work.” Fry explains in his piece that it will allow him to travel more and “think more freely”; apparently one of his first projects will be to spend some time working on Apple Stores around the world.
9to5mac secured a copy of an email sent by Tim Cook to Apple employees about the change. It explains:
I have exciting news to share with you today. I am happy to announce that Jony Ive is being promoted to the newly created position of Chief Design Officer at Apple.
Jony is one of the most talented and accomplished designers of his generation, with an astonishing 5000 design and utility patents to his name. His new role is a reflection of the scope of work he has been doing at Apple for some time. Jony’s design responsibilities have expanded from hardware and, more recently, software UI to the look and feel of Apple retail stores, our new campus in Cupertino, product packaging and many other parts of our company.
Design is one of the most important ways we communicate with our customers, and our reputation for world-class design differentiates Apple from every other company in the world. As Chief Design Officer, Jony will remain responsible for all of our design, focusing entirely on current design projects, new ideas and future initiatives. On July 1, he will hand off his day-to-day managerial responsibilities of ID and UI to Richard Howarth, our new vice president of Industrial Design, and Alan Dye, our new vice president of User Interface Design.
Richard, Alan and Jony have been working together as colleagues and friends for many years. Richard has been a member of the Design team for two decades, and in that time he has been a key contributor to the design of each generation of iPhone, Mac, and practically every other Apple product. Alan started at Apple nine years ago on the Marcom team, and helped Jony build the UI team which collaborated with ID, Software Engineering and countless other groups on groundbreaking projects like iOS 7, iOS 8 and Apple Watch.
Please join me in congratulating these three exceptionally talented designers on their new roles at Apple.