Jony IveSource: Apple

What you need to know

  • Airbnb has hired Jony Ive in a creative consultant role.
  • The former Chief Design Officer at Apple will assist with the company's design and marketing.
  • Ive joins Hiroki Asai, another former Apple executive who worked on the iPhone.

Airbnb has announced a special collaboration with former Apple exec Jony Ive. In a release Wednesday the companies CEO Brian Chesky stated:

Today, I'm thrilled to announce that Jony and his partners at LoveFrom will be engaging in a special collaboration with me and the Airbnb team. We have made the decision to work together through a multi-year relationship to design the next generation of Airbnb products and services. Jony will also help us continue to develop our internal design team, which he believes to be one of the world's best. I know he is particularly excited about a relationship that will evolve to become a deep collaboration with our creative team.

As Reported by The Information, Chesky has confirmed that the company's current Chief Design Officer, Alex Schleifer, would be moving to a part-time role. According to Chesky, bringing Ive on board is part of a "multi-year relationship to design the next generation of Airbnb products and services."

Chesky for months has mentioned to design staff that the company might tap the former Apple chief designer. Ive has been friendly with Chesky for years, and wrote the Airbnb CEO's entry for Time magazine's top 100 most influential people in 2015. The two also worked together on the redesign of Airbnb's logo in 2014. Chesky has spoken often about Apple's design prowess as a source of inspiration for the travel company.

According to the report, Ive's role could afford him major influence over its website, app, and marketing.

The design and creative functions at Airbnb are largely in charge of how the company's app, website and marketing campaigns look to customers. One recent priority has included a redesign of the website and app to make it easier for customers to find unique places to stay, rather than having to sift through screens of listings, two people familiar with the matter said.

Ive will be joining Hiroki Asai, another former Apple executive who is now serving as the company's global head of marketing.

Schleifer, a longtime Chesky confidante, had led the design team for nearly six years. Schleifer's departure also follows the arrival last year of Hiroki Asai, a former Apple executive who was named global head of marketing. Asai took on some design responsibilities that previously had been overseen by Schleifer. But the group has seen significant turnover lately. At least three other senior designers have left recently.

Asai, like Ive, had also worked together at Apple on the launch of the iPhone.