Apple on Thursday (June 27) said Chief Design Officer Jony Ive will be leaving the company.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT, STEPHEN NELLIS, SAYING: "I'm Steven Nellis with Reuters in San Francisco.
Apple's Jony Ive played a key part in helping Apple come back from the doldrums in the late 1990s to become the world's first trillion-dollar publicly listed company." Ive designed products like those candy colored iMacs that came out in the late 1990s all the way to the iPhone which has been one of the most successful consumer products of all time.
Ive was known to be a close artistic collaborator with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs who liked to involve himself deeply in Apple's design process, often going into the design studio and offering feedback and even criticism on Ive's work.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT, STEPHEN NELLIS, SAYING: "Ive will be leaving the company to start his own design firm called Love form which will be retaining Apple as a client for a time.
But Apple has elevated two new executives who will oversee both industrial design and software design." Two things that had been combined under Ives watch.
Those two new design executives will actually report to Apple's Chief Operating Officer, Jeff Williams. Now, Jeff Williams is not as well-known a name as Tim Cook the Chief Executive Officer.
But Williams has been known to involve themselves more deeply in the development of products than Cook.
For example, he oversaw the development of the Apple Watch which was the first big hardware product that Apple put out after the death of Steve Jobs.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT, STEPHEN NELLIS, SAYING: "Apple also said that in addition to having these new design executives report to Jeff Williams, he'll be spending more of his time in the design studio giving feedback on it, suggesting that there may be a sort of return to that close relationship between one of the top executives in the firm and the design teams." But there's no getting around the fact that Jony Ive was one of the last remaining executives who played a central role in Apple's rise from near-death in the mid 1990s to the world's biggest publicly listed company.
And he'll no longer be with Apple.