Two years ago, Jony Ive was promoted to chief design officer at Apple. The newly created role found the company’s beloved designer taking a break from day to day management of the team, handing the reins over to VPs Richard Howarth and Alan Dye. The duo took over the management of its industrial design and user interface design, respectively. Now Ive is stepping back into the part of the position he vacated back in 2015.
Earlier today, 9to5Mac noted that Dye and Howarth were no longer listed on the company’s official leadership page. While both appear to still be on-board, the move seemed to be an indication of Ive’s return to to his former role, a move TechCrunch has since confirmed with Apple.
“With the completion of Apple Park,” a spokesperson for the company told TechCrunch, “Apple’s design leaders and teams are again reporting directly to Jony Ive, who remains focused purely on design.”
The note, of course, refers to Apple’s sprawling new 2.8 million-square-foot campus in Cupertino, which clearly has Ive’s fingerprints all over it, right down to the stair railings embedded directly into the walls.
Ive’s work at Apple has made him a superstar within the design community. He joined the company back in 1992, in the days of the Newton, later working on the original iMac and eventually collaborating directly with Steve Jobs on the iPhone and iPad.
As he moved to CDO, Apple explained that Ive would continue to play a direct role in the company’s design choices. “As Chief Design Officer, Jony will remain responsible for all of our design,” Tim Cook wrote in a 2015, “focusing entirely on current design projects, new ideas and future initiatives.”
At the time, it was widely speculated that Apple had offered him a change in position to persuade him not to step out of the game entirely. But even without a direct management role, Ive continued to have a public one at the company, still appearing regularly to discuss the company’s projects — an increasingly wide range that also included things like Apple retail stores.