Apple’s design guru has just scored a promotion. Jony Ive, the man responsible for the look and feel of many of the company’s most successful products, is now the tech giant’s chief design officer (CDO) – a newly created position. The news was revealed in a wide-ranging interview with Ive published in Monday’s UK Telegraph.
Other promotions resulting from Ive’s move up the ladder include those of Richard Howarth, who was heavily involved with the iPhone’s design from the start and becomes Apple’s head of industrial design, and Alan Dye, who had a big say in the look of iOS 7, as well as the Apple Watch’s OS, and becomes the company’s new head of interface.
The new structure sees the 48-year-old Brit remain in charge of Apple’s software and hardware design teams, but frees him up from various administrative and management responsibilities. The new position is also likely to see him traveling more and taking a deeper interest in, for example, the design of the company’s hugely successful retail stores.
Ive’s move from senior vice president of design to the new position was also announced in an internal email sent to Apple employees by CEO Tim Cook. Obtained by 9to5Mac, the message has Cook applauding Ive, describing him as “one of the most talented and accomplished designers of his generation, with an astonishing 5000 design and utility patents to his name.”
Cook, who’s been in charge at Apple since 2011, added that Ive’s 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.”
In addition, the Apple boss confirmed that the new CDO “will remain responsible for all of our design, focusing entirely on current design projects, new ideas and future initiatives.”
Ive started at the Cupertino firm back in 1992 before forming a close partnership with Steve Jobs when the Apple co-founder returned to the company in 1997. The collaboration resulted in a run of iconic products that helped turn the company around, among them the iMac, iPod, and iPhone.
While there have been suggestions and rumors in recent years that Ive was considering leaving Apple or at the least staying with the company but relocating to his native England, the new appointment suggests otherwise.
However, responding to Monday’s news, prominent Apple blogger John Gruber, for one, said he believes the Apple designer could soon be on his way back to his homeland.
“Part of the story is that Ive is going to ‘travel more,’ which I take to mean ‘live in England,'” Gruber wrote, adding, “But I do not believe that he’s taking a figurehead position or a ceremonial role – I think he truly is taking a serious C-level role as CDO. But this is definitely different and new.”