Jony Ive will depart Apple to start his own company

Jony Ive, Apple’s longtime design chief, will depart Apple to form his own independent design company, according to a press release distributed by Apple today. While he will no longer be an employee, he will count Apple among his clients at the new firm, according to both parties.

Ive’s new company will be called LoveFrom. It will be based in California, at least to start, and will launch in 2020 after a transition period later this year, according to a Financial Times article about the change.

“While I will not be an [Apple] employee, I will still be very involved—I hope for many, many years to come. This just seems like a natural and gentle time to make this change,” Ive told Financial Times. CEO Tim Cook also commented to Financial Times in his usual upbeat voice, saying, “We get to continue with the same team that we’ve had for a long time and have the pleasure of continuing to work with Jony. I can’t imagine a better result.”

Ive has been Apple’s Chief Design Officer since 2015, but he has worked at the company in various design roles for two decades. He was often the voice of Apple’s industrial design teams in highly stylized (and mocked) design videos, and his partnership with former CEO Steve Jobs on product design was written about at length in the tech press over the years.

Ive went on to oversee software and UX design in addition to hardware design after the departure of Scott Forstall, and he was a key player in planning Apple’s new Apple Park campus in Cupertino. Additionally, Ive was knighted by the Queen of England in 2012 and is Chancellor of the Royal College of Art in London.

Apple is not naming a direct successor at this time. Apple VP of industrial design Evans Hankey and VP of human interface design Alan Dye will report to chief operating officer Jeff Williams, who played a role in the development of the Apple Watch and who will “spend more of his time working with the design team in their studio,” according to Apple’s press release.

Apple turnover

Apple has seen some other turnover of key senior talent lately. Retail head Angela Ahrendts, who joined the company from Burberry in 2014, departed in April. And key Apple A-series CPU architect Gerard Williams III left the company earlier this year, though it is possible some aspect of his role may have already been filled by ARM’s Mike Filippo.

As to what to expect from Ive and his company next, he was tight-lipped. Ive told the Financial Times, “There are products that we have been working on for a number of years. I’m beyond excited that I get to continue working on those, and there are some new projects as well that I’ll get to develop and contribute to.”

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