Jony Ive removed from Apple's leadership page, marking the end of an era

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 2019
The official Apple Leadership page no longer includes Jony Ive, marking the formal end to his role as a crucial part of the company. While he'll continue to contribute to Apple, it looks as if Apple no longer sees his design vision quite as crucial as it was.

Apple's outgoing Chief Design Officer, Jony Ive
Apple's ex-Chief Design Officer, Jony Ive


Jony Ive joined Apple in September 1992, when he was 27, and was hired by designer Robert Brunner. Nearly three decades later, he's 52, and his leaving date was far less clear cut. First his departure was originally announced as just "later this year." Then there were accusations that he'd really been scaling back his involvement at Apple over many years.

However, it's now official that Jony Ive has left the company and whether he got a leaving party or not, the occasion has been marked. As of some time between November 23 and Thanksgiving, Jony Ive was removed from the official Leadership page on Apple's website.

Strictly speaking, his departure could never be as clear cut as the day he was hired to join Apple's Design Team. There will be some, and there may be many, products that he worked on which have yet to be released. There will be others coming that Ive works on in his new company.

And then there is the impossible to measure impact he's had on how Apple functions, how the whole design team works. That influence is of course going to stay around a lot longer.

What Ive leaves behind

You can't underestimate the impact that one person can have on a company, but you can overstate it. Ive was regularly feted as the creative genius of Apple, and then more recently he was criticized for holding the company back.

He's been praised for every great decision Apple has made, and then he's been accused of being the reason the company made thinner and thinner devices.

Apple CEO Tim Cook (right) with CDO Jony Ive (left)
Apple CEO Tim Cook (right) with CDO Jony Ive (left)


Since his departure was announced, Apple has released iPhones and now a MacBook Pro which have larger batteries than the previous models. After decades of making thinner and thinner items, it looks like a turnaround for Apple in the wake of its star designer leaving.

You can guarantee that development of the 16-inch MacBook Pro didn't begin back in June this year when Ive's leaving was announced. You can be quite sure that it took several years -- and Apple's Phil Schiller has claimed exactly that.

There's no possibility that Apple was waiting to get rid of Ive before making a thicker product. There's also no question that Ive was at very least informed of each step in this process.

What there could be a question about is whether he was all that fussed. It could be that the Wall Street Journal story which claimed he skipped meetings and didn't focus on anything but Apple Park for years, is true.

Plus the Design Team has now lost every remaining member from its original 1990s days.

There is new blood at Apple, and we could now be seeing the first fruits of that. Yet it's hard to conceive of Jony Ive having no interest or involvement in the 16-inch MacBook Pro when, in so many ways, it's the most important Mac the company makes.

Who's on next

What's perhaps more significant than Ive being removed from the Leadership page is that no one has replaced him on there.

Apple's Leadership page, in the form we know it today, has only been around since 2017. It's not a reflection of who joins or leaves Apple, it is an indicator of how the company regards the role.

So listing the Chief Design Officer as one of the Leadership was practically a statement that said how valuable Apple rated design.

There used to be three key designers on Apple's Leadership page. Ive was the last to be removed.
There used to be three key designers on Apple's Leadership page. Ive was the last to be removed.


The initial 2017 version of the page also features Richard Howarth and Alan Dye, the designers who temporarily took over from Ive in 2015. Howarth was there as vice president of Industrial Design and Dye was listed as vice president of User Interface Design.

Dye and Howarth were both removed from the Leadership page some time between December 6 and 10, 2017. No one was added in their place at the time.

Nor has Alan Dye been returned to the Leadership page even though he has been announced as one of the two new leaders of the Design Team. The other is Evans Hankey, who has never appeared on the Leadership page.

They are both reporting directly to Jeff Williams, who has been on this page since the start. However, he's always been there in his role of Chief Operating Officer.

Apple will survive the departure of Jony Ive, and a list of Leadership people on a web page is not some proof of who is or is no longer in favor.

However, it's hard not to see Design as being something less important now in Apple. It's hard to see it as something even approaching as crucial as it used to be.

Apple does so very much more now than produce hardware, and maybe that's reflected in this page. Maybe it's also why Ive wanted to leave to run his own design firm.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 93
    "However, it's hard not to see Design as being something less important now in Apple. It's hard to see it as something even approaching as crucial as it used to be."

    I'm not sure I agree with this.  There are more design ideologies/methodologies in the world than Jony Ive's and Steve Jobs', both of whom I have immeasurable respect for.
    kiltedgreenMacQc[Deleted User]1stlkruppSolitrashman69rinosaurdewmelolliver
  • Reply 2 of 93
    “It looks as if Apple no longer sees his vision quite as crucial as it was.”
    Uh... seemed like from all accounts this was a largely amicable transition, and had he kept interest, he could’ve stayed indefinitely as CDO. What a weird lede.

    "However, it's hard not to see Design as being something less important now in Apple. It's hard to see it as something even approaching as crucial as it used to be."
    Yeah, no. Design is as important at Apple as it was a decade ago, especially as they push further into new realms like wearables and non-traditional interfaces. The whole “hardware isn’t important because of services” thing isn’t actually a thing. 
    seanjkiltedgreenMacQcflyingdpGabyanton zuykovSolilolliverpulseimagesequality72521
  • Reply 3 of 93
    seanjseanj Posts: 318member
    I’m pretty sure it’s completely amicable the parting of ways. That Apple isn’t parachuting in some big name designer from outside the company shows they aren’t unhappy with the design ethos he developed there.
    That Ives ended up spending some much time on Apple Park suggests that he found a new interest and challenge in working on designs outside of the IT world. Leaving Apple to found his own consultancy will allow him to work on a greater diversity of products than he would have been able to at Apple.
    Of course, being an independent consultant still allows Apple to draw on his skills and experience if and when needed. Indeed, the diversity of what he will work on going forwards will only enhance his practical experience.
    edited November 2019 [Deleted User]lolliverbradchatellierapplesnorangeslkruppwatto_cobrabb-15
  • Reply 4 of 93
     The official Apple Leadership page no longer includes Jony Ive, marking the formal end to his role as a crucial part of the company. While he'll continue to contribute to Apple, it looks as if Apple no longer sees his design vision quite as crucial as it was.”

    What a bizarre comment. He’s been removed from the leadership page because he’s left the company, not because Apple “no longer sees his design vision quite as crucial as it was”. 

    Unless this comment was intended to imply that he was somehow forced out or asked to leave, in which case please supply some evidence for this stance. Every account available points to this being Jony’s decision, not Apples. 
    dysamoriaMacQcurahara[Deleted User]newBelieverlolliveryojimbo007bradchatellierpulseimages1983
  • Reply 5 of 93

    Boring visionless tortoises from operations strengthening their power at Apple...

    elijahgcy_starkmansflagelmacplusplus
  • Reply 6 of 93
    bluefire1bluefire1 Posts: 1,304member
    They should build a statue or bust and place it outside of Apple headquarters to honor the third most important man after the two Steves.
    edited November 2019 bradchatellierseanj
  • Reply 7 of 93
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    McJobs said:

    Boring visionless tortoises from operations strengthening their power at Apple...

    Yep, it’s back to beige plastic boxes again I’m afraid. When the engineers do the designing it ain't gonna be pretty. 
    sflagelfastasleep
  • Reply 8 of 93
    Comes a time....
    1983
  • Reply 9 of 93
    Oddly enough, I’m rather glad Jony’s left Apple. While I fully recognise his enormous contribution to Apple’s success, this new flat, colourful design language of his, which the industry was very quick to copy, still doesn’t quite sit well with me. I experience some kind of sensory overload while lacking the emotional connexion I had back in the day when the colours were subdued and the designs, sophisticated...
    edited November 2019
  • Reply 10 of 93
    1st1st Posts: 443member
    Apple product still got that distinguish look of the minimalistic ID - even the new air pod.  Look like his DNA has been seed well (at least so far) and still rings the cash bell.  He should be smile for his mark on Apple, hard to erase even website no longer mention his name.  IMHO.  Well done and march on to new front. :-)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 93
    Steve Jobs and Jony Ive shared the same design instincts and vision. As Apple moves away from Ives, it is also moving away from Job's. It will happen slowly, but it will happen. Sad to see.
    pulseimageswatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 93
    Nothing is last forever. Generation comes and go, new talents create new philosophy. I am excited with what new Apple brings in terms of design in the future. Why should we be sad? It's a spring time for Apple!
    napoleon_phoneapartMisterKitwatto_cobraStrangeDays
  • Reply 13 of 93
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,824member

    You can't underestimate the impact that one person can have on a company, but you can overstate it.

    Okay...

    edited November 2019 watto_cobrafastasleepcornchip
  • Reply 14 of 93
    Change is good. The real question is - what is next? What will Ive bring to Apple through his new company?

    seanj[Deleted User]
  • Reply 15 of 93
    Even Mother Nature gets bored 4 times a year, so she changes the seasons.
    napoleon_phoneapartpulseimagescy_starkman1983
  • Reply 16 of 93
    d_2d_2 Posts: 118member
    bluefire1 said:
    They should build a statue or bust and place it outside of Apple headquarters to honor the third most important man after the two Steves.
    Sounds interesting, but Tim C seems far too humble to allow such a thing.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 93
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,038member
    Oddly enough, I’m rather glad Jony’s left Apple. While I fully recognise his enormous contribution to Apple’s success, this new flat, colourful design language of his, which the industry was very quick to copy, still doesn’t quite sit well with me. I experience some kind of sensory overload while lacking the emotional connexion I had back in the day when the colours were subdued and the designs, sophisticated…
    Because that skeuomorphism  with fake wood and leather as well as other more pointless attempts to mimic real world items completely out of scale on a glass display wasn't sensory overload?
    MisterKitseanj1983macxpresswatto_cobraStrangeDaysfastasleepgilly33roundaboutnowpscooter63
  • Reply 18 of 93
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,038member
    bluefire1 said:
    They should build a statue or bust and place it outside of Apple headquarters to honor the third most important man after the two Steves.
    Jony designed and built his own bust. It's a featureless aluminium sphere.
    edited November 2019 newBelieverrain221983watto_cobraStrangeDaysdavgreg
  • Reply 19 of 93
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,775member
    Thing is, pretty much all their main devices, iPads, iPhones, MacBooks and iMacs alike are pretty much as optimised as they can be. There's not a lot you can do with a slab of glass. There's been very little change over the last 10 years because the design of the devices is pretty much as good as it can get - it's kind of change for the sake of change now, the MacBook keyboard for example.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 93
    Jobs made it so no one could fire I’ve. 

    Jony’s decision is his own. 

    He’s probably feeling boxed in and stuck. 

    It must be difficult to have had a brother in arms to forge daring paths with and then, all of a sudden, a new team has their own ideas and you’re not as valued. It would s more difficult when you see a clear design path and it gets muddled. 

    Apple should at the least retain I’ve in a board position so he can provide his invaluable input in crucial software and hardware design development junctures. His designs were also thought through in terms of marketing. So the marketing teams under Schiller could stand to listen up as well. 

    Ives products marketed themselves. We’ve seen when Schiller has to oversell (“can’t innovate my...”) and what people like about Schiller is that he just states things clearly and let’s the product do the song she dance. That was due to Ive’s design in concert with Craig’s software teams. 

    Ive’s official departure resounds. This is a crucial moment in Apple’s history. We will see where it goes from here. But any good leader replicates himself. I’m sure Jony has done that. And every great leader has quirks that sometimes aren’t so great. So hopefully this is the best time and jony’s vision is taken forward, but perhaps without some of the speed bumps that may have been his personal convictions on valuing certain aesthetic forms over function. Ive and Apple are both best when firm and fiction are sysnonymous. 

    I’m loving the new Mac Pro, the new 16” notebook, the new iPhone, and the series 5. 

    Each scream Jony Ive, but two of them also hint at retaining the best of him while removing some of what he may have prioritized that could have prevented these two from existing. 

    Apple would have never gotten this far without that one man. And it wouldn’t be so healthy as to have such a rosy outlook Into the future without him. 

    Great job Jony Ive. As I spend time this Thanksgiving with family, I may have never thought about it before because I’ve taken it for granted, but I am thankful for Jony Ive, for his design talent, his leadership, his toughness when challenged, and his classy demeanor along the way. My life has been greatly enriched by this man and I believe many others can say the same. 
    seanjDave Kap[Deleted User]watto_cobrafastasleep
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