Samsung hires new design honcho from Apple designer Jony Ive’s former firm

“Samsung Electronics recently hired Lee Don-tae, former co-CEO of London-based design firm Tangerine ― founded by Apple’s iPhone designer Jonathan Ive ― as its new design strategist in its upscale push through stylish design,” Lee Ji-yoon reports for The Korea Herald. “According to Samsung officials on Thursday, Lee started working as vice president and global design chief at its Design Management Center in January.”

“Lee, 47, an expert in product design and design strategy, served as president and partner at Tangerine, offering consultations to global companies like Samsung, LG, Toyota and British Airways since 1989,” Lee reports. “He is best known for redesigning British Airways’ business-class cabin and its seating configuration. Thanks to the so-called ‘z-shaped’ styling, 20 percent more seats were added and annual profits increased by $738 million, Tangerine said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Perhaps he could do better than phones that look like band-aids when they’re not directly knocking off iPhone designs.

[Attribution: 9to5Mac. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. Lee won’t have the design freedom he had at Tangerine, if I guess right.

    Now if Lee had the power to effectively run the consumer electronics division, it would be different.

  2. I worked as a product designer at various Korean/Chinese owned companies.

    It’s not that we didn’t have talent, it was always the upper decision makers who were not trained as designers but rather trained in economics, still stuck in 70’s and 80’s and who were handed down the company only capable of accepting what’s already been done and proven to be successful.

    It won’t matter who is the new design chief.

    Many companies, if not all, won’t be in existence without Apple design leadership. Apple is the global R&D lab for them.

    Even a few that does produce very well designed products are usually linked to former Apple this, former Apple that.

  3. They also reportedly hired the lady who taught him to read at age 6 to be head of their worldwide Marketing Department, and hired a guy who once sold Jony a milkshake to run the Samsung employee slurpee machine.

  4. They must be paying him a fortune to swap his own influntial design position for a run of the mill corporate cages grater of a job for Samsung where he will never be able to bring all the diverse parts together to performed as he would desire. A very frustrating experience that will be interesting to see how long it all lasts. But at the ore it’s just SAMSUNG copying again and as such will they tolerate a situation where he doesn’t do it just like Jony their only design parameter as things stand. They don’t get that designers here arn’t all clones no matter how closely they work together.

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