Jony Ive, the chief architect of groundbreaking and distinctive designs from the iMac to the iPhone, announced on Thursday that he is leaving Apple after nearly 30 years.
Ive’s departure, which was announced in an exclusive interview with the Financial Times, is sure to set off shock waves in the tech and design worlds, but the 52-year-old Briton will remain involved with Apple. He plans to launch a new creative company called LoveFrom – and said Apple will be his first client.
“While I will not be an employee, I will still be very involved – I hope for many, many years to come,” Ive told the FT. “This just seems like a natural and gentle time to make this change.”
“Jony is a singular figure in the design world and his role in Apple’s revival cannot be overstated,” chief executive Tim Cook said in a statement. “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.”
Cook further paid tribute to Ive in an interview with the FT, highlighting his role in rescuing the company from its early-90s doldrums: “The work on the original iMac was sort of the point at which people began to pay attention to Apple again on something other than how badly economically the company was doing.
“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,” he added. “I can’t imagine a better result.”