Jony Ive gives up day-to-day managerial duties to focus on big picture

“Jony Ive, Apple Inc.’s top designer, will give up day-to-day managerial duties in what the company said is a promotion to the newly created position of chief design officer,” Tim Higgins reports for Bloomberg.

“Ive, who’s been behind shaping the look and feel of Apple’s most important products, will still lead design efforts while focusing entirely on “current design projects, new ideas and future initiatives,” the Cupertino, California-based tech company said Monday in an e-mailed statement,” Higgins reports. “Ive’s two deputies will take on the managerial duties, beginning July 1, according to the company. Richard Howarth becomes vice president of industrial design and Alan Dye takes the role of vice president of interface design.”

Higgins reports, “‘The new Chief Design Officer title is a symbolic gesture recognizing his strategic importance to Apple’s future,’ Neil Cybart, an independent analyst and founder of the Above Avalon website covering Apple’s business, said Monday in an e-mail. ‘In many ways, Jony’s new role is the closest thing yet to the unofficial role that Steve Jobs held at Apple. With day-to-day managerial duties being handed off to capable team members, Jony now has more time to focus on the big picture, although history would suggest he will remain quite involved with the details.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This is how Apple eases the pressure on Jony while addressing one of their most pressing problems since Steve Jobs was CEO: Succession. Jony Ive is the most important person at Apple. The addition of Marc Newson to Apple’s payroll, in whatever capacity, was one answer to the question. This is the next.

As we wrote yesterday:

The fact is that Apple without Jony Ive is worse off than Apple without Tim Cook. Tim Cook is easier to replace than Jony Ive.

Steve Jobs called Jonathan Ive his ‘spiritual partner’ at Apple. He told his biographer Walter Isaacson that Ive had ‘more operation power’ at Apple than anyone besides Jobs himself — that there’s no one at the company who can tell Ive what to do. That, Jobs said, is “the way I set it up.”

SteveJack: In effect, way back in 2003, I was right.

Related articles:
Jony Ive promoted to ‘Chief Design Officer’ – May 25, 2015
Jony Ive is the most powerful person at Apple – December 12, 2014
Jony Ive hasn’t been given too much power at Apple – because he’s always had it – February 5, 2013
Steve Jobs left design chief Jonathan Ive ‘more operational power’ than anyone else at Apple – October 21, 2011

12 Comments

  1. It’s no secret that Jony Ive would like to live in the UK, but that isn’t a realistic prospect while he’s doing what he has been doing within Apple. There could have come a time when Jony would have needed to choose between working for Apple and living in California or leaving Apple and living in Britain. Now that he has a wife and young family, considerations of that sort will have become more pressing.

    I think that this is a very elegant solution, which will allow Jony more freedom to be more flexible geographically, but still be in charge of Apple’s design process, while delegating the day-to-day matters to two extremely accomplished and experienced deputies. It’s not just a matter of wanting to bring up his children in the UK, but he will now be free to get more involved with designers and innovators around the world to use their skills and expertise to benefit Apple. Apple is expected to expand it’s range of products, so having the freedom to spend longer away from Cupertino would be a great way of expanding his sphere of interest and bringing new ideas to Apple.

  2. This is Ive retiring without retiring. Good for him. He is worth hundreds of millions. Enjoy the family.

    I like the new Yosemite and iOS. I’d like to have him continue, but I understand no one is irreplaceable.

    The only thing I don’t like about this announcement is Ive’s increased responsibility in the Apple Retail. The new executive for that should be doing that. I apologize, I’ve forgotten her name this morning- this isn’t a slight, I generally think she is doing a good job.

    1. And… the answer is, apparently, not so much. According to a profile, he is a graphic designer who initially worked in the ad industry, then at Apple worked on product packaging, e.g. the box the iPhone came in, then was moved into the UI group. No indication of any more expertise in software usability than Ive.

  3. Ive will never be CEO because he does not do public presentations. Whilst that is not a major role for a CEO, I think it is necessary for a CEO to be willing to do that.
    Jobs of course was perfect and Cook still needs to work on his style.
    I still feel that Cook is essential as CEO to make sure the product is going out the door as fast as possible. His operational skills are second to none and key to Apple’s success in the last 15+ years.

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