What Jony Ive’s ‘promotion’ really means

“A lot of folks are taking Sir Jonathan Ive’s just announced title of as Chief Design Officer at face value. Congratulations are in order and all that. But there is a lot more going on than a title change,” Seth Weintraub writes for 9to5Mac. “There is clearly more to the story than Apple is telling us.”

Weintraub writes, “In an important 2011 profile, the The Sunday Times noted that Ive longed to be back in the UK and almost left Apple that year before he was given a huge payout by Apple to stay on longer.”

He and wife Heather, who met while they were studying at Newcastle Polytechnic, are said to want to educate their twins in England. He still visits the institution in the north-east to give masterclasses, giving up part of his three weeks’ annual leave. A friend of the family told The Sunday Times: “Unfortunately he is just too valuable to Apple and they told him in no uncertain terms that if he headed back to England he would not be able to sustain his position with them.”Maurice Chittenden and Sean O’Driscoll, The Sunday Times, February 27, 2011

Weintraub writes, “Ive gets two subordinates to run his two incredibly important programs then gets to spend a reasonable amount of time in the UK with his kids who then aren’t forced to grow up talking like Americans and pronouncing ‘aluminum’ like animals.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yes, this frees Jony.

Again, 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.

Hopefully, Jony is happy with the new arrangement and continues to have a major hand in Apple’s design direction.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Bill” for the heads up.]

35 Comments

    1. Alternatively, this new role relieves the pressures that have made him consider leaving in the past and he can now enjoy being CDO for decades more.

      We just don’t know yet and its perfectly possible that Tim and Jony may not know either. This may be their best shot at constructing a role that works long time for Jony and now they’ll see if it works.

      The fact is we don’t know anything other than that Apple is doing the responsible thing and building a bench of future senior leadership talent. That’s very good.

      Also, remember that once upon a time many people could not imagine Apple surviving never mind prospering after Steve Jobs. The truth is that anyone is replaceable. It only looks impossible if you haven’t worked out succession planning properly.

      1. We do know one thing.
        He has been promoted to CDO.. And Tim has expressed the reasons why.
        Those are facts.
        Seth’s article is PURE speculation and FUD.. Thumbs down Seth !

        1. There are two actual reasons for this change:

          1. It removes Ive’s from the list of executives whose compensation the SEC could conceivably force Apple to make public.

          2. It removes Ive from a highly public role where he’s expected to make public appearances at events like keynote presentations, with which he’s clearly very uncomfortable. They’ve been relying on recorded speeches by Ive for years, rather than force him to speak live. This solves that problem. His direct reports will be the ones giving those presentations now.

          Aside from that there’s nothing to see here. Ive’s departure is not imminent.

  1. The thing is, why would he want to leave, unless he no longer has the desire to do what he’s doing. Even as a consultant to other companies, he’d have a tough time finding a better sandbox than Apple, with his own picked team, near infinite resources, and seemingly little in the way of restrictions on what he can try.

    1. Ive knows that the limits of his “thinness” obsession are very near. People want something better, not something thinner. He’s already flatted and phucked up the GUI on all of Apple’s products, and he’s made almost all of Apple’s hardware disposable. Now it’s time for him to be put to pasture and send in an adult that cares about USABILITY and VALUE over grey ugly thinness.

      1. IF Ive is nearly as smart as people say he is (and I think he is) then he knows that “thinness” isn’t the final answer. There are unlimited technological applications/appliances, both in design and re-engineering, just waiting for Apple and him to tackle in the future.

    2. I read Weintraub’s article. Pure clickbait.

      The article is nothing more than speculation and assumption. His facts are thin. While Jonathan Ive is a very successful man, concluding that Ive wants to leave based on that is specious at best.

      What Weintraub conveniently overlooks is that as a hardware designer, Jonathan Ive had a tremendous load on his shoulders. In the wake of Scott Forrestal, he suddenly was also responsible for the software UI as well. In addition, Ive was tasked with the management of the new Apple corporate headquarters campus, and additional assignments on the look and feel of the company’s growing array of retail establishments.

      If you asked me, that is a LOT. That is why I see it is indeed plausible that Ive would delegate responsibility to trusted lieutenants. That makes sense.

      And too, let’s not forget what we can’t see: future products. What else might Apple have in development that could take a tremendous amount of Ive’s time? That was not factored into Weintraub’s assumptions.

      Look, Weintraub could be right. But my gut tells me that he’s way off the mark. Weintraub is making vast assumptions and posing these as facts. Like so many journalists and pundits, if he is wrong, he will never own up to it, but simply move on. Because that’s what they do.

      I for one am calling BS.

  2. Truth be told, how much money does one really need? Money alone will not keep him at Apple. Especially when there are things that money just can’t buy (like forcing you to live somewhere you don’t want to).

    The only thing keeping Jony at Apple is his influence in design in the world and (probably) the  Car. He probably wants to drive that car one day and he wants it done right (I know I would if I were him)…

  3. Thanks MDN.. For spreading Seths FUD .

    Republishing pure, irresponsible speculation and conspiracy theories …. Helping spread his FUD and his bs narrative .
    Ives beeng free of day to day managerial chores and bureaucracies to have more focus on creativeity is one thing, Ives leaving another thing… And Seths article is messing with the latter and creating bogus FUD and confusion !

  4. I was concerned by the latest photos in Fry’s report: he looks stressed, flabby and unfit. Maybe close to a burn-out. Creative work requires time and freedom to play.

    1. When you’re Cook, blowing money is no problem. $3 billion on has-been rappers with plastic headphones, $9 billion and counting on a donut office, $75+ billion on an airheaded retail bimbo who doesn’t have a #$%^&* clue about technology. Untold billions to activist investors who demand ransom. So what the hell, Cook might as well annoint Ive the new Dauphin, to be doted and fested the rest of his life. It’s not like Ive is going to do squat to earn his new salary. Why would he? He’s got already got more money than any person can intelligently spend in a lifetime. Other executives before have just dialed it in once they hit the executive jackpot, so why should he be any different? His biggest job requirement from here on out will be to answer and occasional Facetime when Cook needs advice on fashion accessories.

      1. She only got $75 Million not billion plus she’s way worth it. Although born in Indiana, she left a major CEO position in London to become a VP in Cupertino. She definitely deserved the massive first year pay for making the switch. Plus she doesn’t need to know anything about tech to do her job superbly.💥😱👌🏻🚀

        1. FM… I eould love to brlieve she us wirth it .. But so far, at Apple, there is no evidance of it .
          But time will tell if she proves herself worthy .

        2. Sorry for the rushed typo filled response!
          I meant:

          FM… I would love to believe she is worth it .. But so far, at Apple, there is no evidance of it .
          But time will tell if she proves herself worth it …

            1. When Angela Ahrendts was brought aboard, spectators expected her to assume a high public profile like the one she had projected as CEO of Burberry. Apple, colorless and astringent since the loss of Steve Jobs, might have benefited from a charismatic presenter, but that didn’t happen—because she was acquired not to replace anyone, but to helm the all-important China push, a task for which she was uniquely qualified, and one which she has quietly, but decisively, accomplished.

            2. Ahrends doesn’t seem to have accomplished anything that an enthusiastic bilingual $200k/year marketing veteran couldn’t easily pull off. Her leaked video showed show inept she is the the world of technology. What a total waste of money, Apple. Please put your money into engineering hardware and software that JUST WORKS instead of blowing it on rap artists and airheaded fashionistas.

  5. If Ive’s is true, perhaps in addition to the new spaceship campus, could Apple build a substantial new facility or design centre in England? For Ive and others? Continue designing, consulting via video conferencing, have once a month trips to Apple HQ in California, and of course be with his family in England. Just a thought…

    1. I’d like to think this would work, but I don’t think it will. Reading about how the various projects come together (iPhone being the big one) it was being in contact with the other engineering groups that provided the spark. I personally think this is true in most cases, creativity doesn’t really happen in isolation, you need to interact with people, see different things, and then the key is to integrate them. There’s something very important about being able to walk into someone’s office and say “I’ve got an idea” that you don’t get when you’re separated.

  6. “… forced to grow up talking like Americans and pronouncing ‘aluminum’ like animals.”

    What the hell kind of moronic comment is that?

    Screw you asshole!

  7. Sir Jony just wants to move back home. Realistically that would mean taking a few steps back from the design process and relinquishing more power to his team in California but still retaining overall control of everything design related at Apple, which he can do from England. Seems like a happy compromise to me.

  8. If I had Mansion in Pacific Heights, paid 10’s of millions per year, and had cardblanc to do whatever creatively I felt like with the backing of a 750 Billion + corporation, I’d be homesick too (sarcasm)

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