Apple said late on Thursday that Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer, will leave the company as an employee later this year to form an independent design company which will count Apple among its main clients.
Ive learned his craft while gaining a Bachelor of Arts from Newcastle Polytechnic, now called Northumbria University.
“While he pursues personal projects, Ive in his new company will continue to work closely and on a range of projects with Apple,” said Apple.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said: “Jony is a singular figure in the design world and his role in Apple’s revival cannot be overstated, from 1998’s groundbreaking iMac to the iPhone and the unprecedented ambition of Apple Park, where recently he has been putting so much of his energy and care.
“Apple will continue to benefit from Jony’s talents by working directly with him on exclusive projects, and through the ongoing work of the brilliant and passionate design team he has built.
“After so many years working closely together, I’m happy that our relationship continues to evolve and I look forward to working with Jony long into the future.”
Apple said design team leaders Evans Hankey, vice president of Industrial Design, and Alan Dye, vice president of Human Interface Design, will report to Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer.
Both Dye and Hankey have played key leadership roles on Apple’s design team for many years.
Williams has led the development of Apple Watch since its inception and will spend more of his time working with the design team in their studio.
“After nearly 30 years and countless projects, I am most proud of the lasting work we have done to create a design team, process and culture at Apple that is without peer,” said Ive.
“Today it is stronger, more vibrant and more talented than at any point in Apple’s history.
“The team will certainly thrive under the excellent leadership of Evans, Alan and Jeff, who have been among my closest collaborators.
“I have the utmost confidence in my designer colleagues at Apple, who remain my closest friends, and I look forward to working with them for many years to come.”