Apple promotes Jony Ive to chief design officer role

26 May 2015

Apple's chief design officer Sir Jony Ive

Jony Ive, the talented British designer who has influenced the design of Apple’s most iconic devices and lately its operating systems, has been promoted to the role of chief design officer at the California tech giant.

Ive previously held the role of senior vice president of design. In the management shuffle Ive will relinquish management of both the industrial and software design units at Apple to two new leaders from 1 July.

Richard Howarth, who has been on the iPhone team from the very start, is to be made vice president of industrial design, with a focus on hardware.

Alan Dye, a key player in iOS 7’s major redesign, will now be vice president of user interface design for both desktop and mobile devices.

The reshuffle will mean Ive will remain in charge of Apple’s hardware and software design teams but it will free him from day-to-day managerial tasks, allowing him to focus on the bigger picture.

The change in roles was revealed in an interview between Ive and Stephen Fry in The Telegraph.

In an email to staff from Tim Cook obtained by 9to5Mac, Cook said: “Jony is one of the most talented and accomplished designers of his generation, with an astonishing 5,000 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 1 July, 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.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years