Royal College of Art in London appoints Apple’s Jony Ive as its Chancellor

Today, the Royal College of Art announced the appointment of Sir Jony Ive as its new Chancellor. He will take up the role in July 2017.

Sir Jony succeeds Sir James Dyson OM, Provost of the College (2011–17), as this key honorary role is renamed. The Chancellor is head of the College, presiding over meetings of the Court, a member of its governing body, Council, and conferring degrees at Convocation. Baroness Gail Rebuck remains Chair of Council and becomes Pro-Chancellor of the university. The posts of Chancellor and Pro-Chancellor are non-salaried.

Ive is the Chief Design Officer at Apple, widely recognised as the world’s most innovative and most admired company. He is responsible for the look and feel of all Apple products, from hardware and packaging to the user interface, as well as major architectural projects including the company’s new campus in California, known as Apple Park.

Ive joins the RCA at a critical point in its evolution into a dynamic, STEAM-focused postgraduate university, expanding its research and knowledge exchange centres into the domains of computer and materials science, the impact of the digital economy, advanced manufacturing and intelligent mobility. As Chancellor for a five-year term, Ive will advise the College during a period of expansion, embodied in the construction of a new building at Battersea, scheduled to open in 2020.

Paul Thompson, Rector of the Royal College of Art, commented, ‘We are delighted to welcome Sir Jony Ive as our new Chancellor. It is a great honour to be joined by the world’s leading designer of his generation, who has produced consistently innovative and commercially successful technology and design. As Chancellor, Jony embodies the RCA’s ideals of technology and design excellence, inspiring students and staff, and enabling us to educate the next generation of world-leading artists and designers.’

‘I am thrilled to formalise my relationship with the RCA, given the profound influence the College has had on so many of the artists and designers that I admire.’ said Jony Ive. ‘Our design team includes many RCA alumni, who embody the fundamental values of the College. I look forward to advising both the College and students, hoping that my experience proves useful in their work.’

Ive, who holds over 5,000 patents, received an honorary doctorate from the RCA, conferred in 2009. He was awarded a CBE in 2006 and a KBE in the 2012 New Year’s Honours list. Among others, Ive also holds honorary doctorates from both Oxford and Cambridge Universities. In 2012, D&AD named Ive and his team the Best Design Studio of the past 50 years.

Ive has led the design team at Apple since 1996 and has been responsible for many of Apple’s most popular and influential products, including iPhone, iPod, iPad, MacBook and Apple Watch. Embodying Apple’s founding intention to make great products, Ive’s designs are celebrated internationally for their trademark elegance, simplicity and attention to detail.

Source: Royal College of Art

MacDailyNews Take: As if Jony doesn’t have enough on his plate!

No wonder we have to wait ’til next year for Apple to get the new Mac Pro that, to be generous, is at least two years ago out the door.

Hopefully this won’t be too much of a time sap.

Any question as to how much control Tim Cook has over Jony Ive should be resolved by now. It’s zero.

On the bright side, if Jony’s even more distracted, perhaps the second string will actually be allowed to finally make the user-extensible Mac Pro that Mac-using professionals have needed for the past 3.5 years and counting.

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


    1. “Sir Jony succeeds Sir James Dyson OM, Provost of the College (2011–17), as this key honorary role is renamed. The Chancellor is head of the College, presiding over meetings of the Court, a member of its governing body, Council, and conferring degrees at Convocation.”

      It is an honorary role, so you (and MDN) need to chill. Many successful people are involved in a wide range of activities. CEOs, for example, might serve on dozens of other corporate BoDs. It is time to ease up on your bitterness and move on.

  1. It’s apparent that Jony is no longer focused on Apple products. With Store redesign and Apple campus almost completed, and now RCA, Jony is basically saying he tired of the constraints of product design. Or maybe his time doing other things will rejuvenate him. I don’t know, but I’ve had the feeling for a while that giving him all these other design projects has been Cooks way to keep Jony from bolting altogether. I think the Ives era at Apple is waning.

  2. You do realise that in Commonwealth countries, the position of Chancellor is a ceremonial role that carries no day-to-day responsibility. It’s like being patron of a charity — ribbon cutting. The real head of the institution is the Vice Chancellor.

    All this means is that Ive will sit in on the occasional ceremony and be in the promotional material. They’ll put his name on a few internal emails each year.

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