Jony Ive promoted to Chief Design Officer at Apple [Update: Tim Cook memo]

An interview with Stephen Fry has revealed that design guru Jony Ive has been promoted to Chief Design Officer at Apple. Joining Ive in his promotion are Richard Howarth and Alan Dye, who are now the heads of Industrial Design (ID) and Human Interface (HI), respectively. From The Telegraph:

Until now, Ive's job title has been Senior Vice President of Design. But I can reveal that he has just been promoted and is now Apple's Chief Design Officer. It is therefore an especially exciting time for him.Inside the fabled design studio (cloths over the long tables hiding the exciting new prototypes from prying eyes like mine) Jony has two people with him. They too have been promoted as part of Ive's new role.One is Richard Howarth, English as Vimto. "Richard is going to be our new head of Industrial Design," says Jony. "And this is Alan Dye, the new head of User Interface." Dye is a tall, amiable American.

In the interview, Ive says that his new position will free him from administrative and management work, allowing him to travel more and, ostensibly, focus his complete efforts on design. Ive has great faith in Howarth and Dye in their new roles:

Those two are as good as it gets. 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.

Ive originally joined Apple in 1992 and was promoted to Senior Vice President and head of the industrial design team after Steve Jobs returned to the company. Since then, he has been responsible for leading the way in the iconic designs seen in all of Apple's products, including the iPod, iPhone, Mac, and the iPad. It's quite the legacy, and it will be interesting to see what kinds of designs Ive's new role will free him up to pursue.

Update: 9to5Mac managed to obtain a copy of the memo that was sent out by Tim Cook to Apple employees highlighting the changes:


I have exciting news to share with you today. I am happy to announce that Jony Ive is being promoted to the newly created position of Chief Design Officer at Apple.

Jony is one of the most talented and accomplished designers of his generation, with an astonishing 5000 design and utility patents to his name. His new role is a reflection of the scope of work he has been doing at Apple for some time. Jony's design responsibilities have expanded from hardware and, more recently, software UI to the look and feel of Apple retail stores, our new campus in Cupertino, product packaging and many other parts of our company.

Design is one of the most important ways we communicate with our customers, and our reputation for world-class design differentiates Apple from every other company in the world. As Chief Design Officer, Jony will remain responsible for all of our design, focusing entirely on current design projects, new ideas and future initiatives. On July 1, he will hand off his day-to-day managerial responsibilities of ID and UI to Richard Howarth, our new vice president of Industrial Design, and Alan Dye, our new vice president of User Interface Design.

Richard, Alan and Jony have been working together as colleagues and friends for many years. Richard has been a member of the Design team for two decades, and in that time he has been a key contributor to the design of each generation of iPhone, Mac, and practically every other Apple product. Alan started at Apple nine years ago on the Marcom team, and 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.

Please join me in congratulating these three exceptionally talented designers on their new roles at Apple.


Dan Thorp-Lancaster
  • I'm hoping that means Ive won't be touching iOS and OS X interfaces anymore and focus on the external stuff which he does best. He is not that great with software interfaces. I'm not sure Watch interface is better tho. So I'm not going to raise my expectations too high for Dye.
  • Well Dye was involved in iOS and OS X and got a promotion out of this so I doubt we'll be seeing a return to Forstall design anytime soon.
  • Nothing to do with Forstall since I didn't mention his name in the first place, and if anything, his UI was bad. I did understand and like what Apple was trying to do with the semi-flat style but the way they're doing it is what I don't like about it. I just don't like the main focus on fancy animations, slow, and shiny white flat interfaces they have going with iOS 7/8/Yosemite. Despite turning transparency off, turning reduced motion option on, and more; they still feel slow, bright, and just badly optimized. If they focus on clean, lightweight, and responsive flat UI, I'm okay with the changes but every release, it is more form over function type of changes.
  • Congrats to all 3 and thanks for the best hardware design and software interfaces in the world, fellas--including the great new Apple Watch!
  • Chief Pretentious Drawer of Shapes Sloths fight leopards. You can't open a bag of chips. Clearly humans are the weaker species.
  • Considering his success and humility, I don't see how that comment is warranted. Did he snub you for a date or something?
  • He seems Pretentious imo, hence the comment. Oh well. Sloths fight leopards. You can't open a bag of chips. Clearly humans are the weaker species.
  • Haven't seen you trolling on AC lately. Did they kick you off so you come here now?
  • I'm there too, I just work days now, so I have to comment a lot less than I used to so I've actually tried to have mildly useful comments recently. Sloths fight leopards. You can't open a bag of chips. Clearly humans are the weaker species.
  • Well these comments aren't exactly that haha. Don't judge thy be judged back or something like that. Posted via the iMore App on iPad Air
  • " Ive says that his new position will free him from administrative and management work, allowing him to travel more and, ostensibly, focus his complete efforts on design." Where "design" means "Car."
  • Cuz God knows you have to travel (?) to get real work done? Only an idiot like you would fall for that. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Sounds like next step to emeritus status and retirement. He deserves it.
  • Maybe not retirement, but it's clear he'll never be CEO. He's a creative genius to most, but doesnt seem to have the stiff bones it takes to lead a company of such size.
  • And he's made it quite clear he has no interest in ever being CEO. He's got a better job than that anyways.
  • Very nice letter, congratulations to all of them Sent from the iMore App
  • OMG!!? The next iCrap will be a signature series for sire Posted via the Android iMore App!