Apple has made a very important change within its organization chart. According to Mark Gurman, a journalist for Bloomberg and one of the most reliable sources in everything that refers to the Cupertino company, ensures that Apple has eliminated the position of head of industrial designa role that for many years was key to the success of multiple products.
After the surprise departure of Jony Ive in mid-2019, his work was left in the hands of Evans Hankey. However, last October he announced that he would leave the company in the first half of 2023, giving Apple time to find a replacement.
“Apple’s design team brings together creative experts from around the world and from many disciplines to imagine products that are undeniably Apple. The senior team has strong leaders with decades of experience. Evans plans to stay while we work on the transition, and we would like to thank him for his leadership and his contributions,” the company mentioned at the time.
The company was expected to search for a new leader over the months. In fact, it was even mentioned that Apple was in no hurry to find a replacement for him, as they would pretend to take the time to choose the right person. Now, however, they would have stopped the search.
How will such an important team function without a specialized manager? According to Mark Gurman, the industrial design team, which is made up of about 20 people, will report directly to jeff williams, Apple’s Chief Operating Officer. Also, some veteran designers will be given larger roles. Consequently, they will have more responsibilities.
Jony Ive’s departure from Apple had more impact than we thought
Gurman mentions that Apple made the decision to eliminate the position of head of industrial design before the Exodus that the team has suffered in recent years. Undoubtedly, the departure of Jony Ive turned out to have more impact than budgeted. Not only because of losing a fundamental figure for the company, but also because some designers followed in Ive’s footsteps and joined him in his new adventure.
We must remember that Jony Ive, after saying goodbye to Apple, founded LoveFrom, a UK-based design studio. In fact, LoveFrom was working with Apple in its early years, though it seemed more like a partnership stemming from the company’s appreciation of Ive. It was not until June 2022 when both parties ended their relationship permanently.
Bloomberg claims that about 15 industrial designers left Apple to join LoveFrom since 2015. Considering that the industrial design team is not in large demand compared to others, the fact that more than a dozen people have gotten off the boat is not a minor issue.
Apple, fortunately, still has designers with a long history in the company in its ranks. Among them are Molly Anderson, Duncan Kerr, Bart Andre, Richard Howarth, Peter Russell-Clarke and Ben Shaffer. They may be unknown to the vast majority at this time, but rest assured that we will begin to hear more of them as they get involved in more meaningful work.
Of course, at the moment Apple does not plan for any of those named to become the new head of industrial design. As previously stated, the entire team will answer to Jeff Williams. Due, there will be a closer relationship between operations and design teams; a situation that, apparently, does not entirely please the creatives of Apple. We will see how these changes affect the company in the following years.