Jony Ive, the Senior Vice President of Design at Apple for several years, is being promoted to the newly created position of the company's Chief Design Officer. The move will free Ive from "day-to-day managerial responsibilities" and allow the chief designer behind most of Apple's iconic products to "think more freely."
The move was first announced via English comedian, actor, and writer Stephen Fry's profile of Sir Jony Ive for The Telegraph. Richard Howarth will take over as the new Vice President of Industrial Design (ID) and Alan Dye will be the new Vice President of User Interface (UI) Design at Apple.
Howarth has been a member of the Apple design team for two decades, and in a memo sent to all company employees announcing the changes, CEO Tim Cook described him as "a key contributor to the design of each generation of iPhone, Mac, and practically every other Apple product." Dye "helped Jony build the UI team which collaborated with ID, Software Engineering and countless other groups on groundbreaking projects like iOS 7, iOS 8 and Apple Watch."
"Those two [Howarth and Dye] are as good as it gets," Ive told Fry. "Richard was lead on the iPhone from the start. He saw it all the way through from prototypes to the first model we released. Alan has a genius for human interface design. So much of the Apple Watch's operating system came from him."
The changes, which will happen on July 1 when Howarth and Dye assume their new roles, are designed to free Ive up from the mundane tasks of management, something Ive is clearly relishing, as evident from this little exchange:
Ive: "Having Alan and Richard in place frees me up from some of the administrative and management work which isn't ... which isn't ..."
Fry: "Which isn't what you were put on this planet to do?"
Ive: "With those two [Howarth and Dye] in place I can ..."
Fry: I could feel him avoiding the phrase "blue sky thinking"... think more freely?"
Ive said he will use the free time to travel more and focus partly on improving Apple stores across the world, entities that played a large part in Apple's global success.