Jony Ive, Apple design chief behind iPhone, leaving company

CUPERTINO, Calif. -- Jony Ive, Apple's chief design officer, is leaving later this year after a decades-long career with the company, Apple announced Thursday.

Ive has been one of the driving creative forces behind Apple's renaissance, working closely on the iPhone, iPad, 1998 iMac, the company's new Apple Park campus and other projects. He is known for influencing Apple's signature rounded, stylish aesthetic.

After his departure, he will start his own independent design firm and will take Apple on as a client. The company said he will "continue to work closely and on a range of projects with Apple."

"After nearly 30 years and countless projects, I am most proud of the lasting work we have done to create a design team, process and culture at Apple that is without peer. Today it is stronger, more vibrant and more talented than at any point in Apple's history," Ive said in a news release.

Ive, 52, has led Apple's design team since 1996 and more than 5,000 patents, according to Apple. His team was honored as the best design studio of the past 50 years in 2012, and he was made a knight commander of the British Empire in 2013.

"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," Apple CEO Tim Cook added. "After so many years working closely together, I'm happy that our relationship continues to evolve and I look forward to working with Jony long into the future."

Apple has not yet named Ive's successor. Following his departure, industrial design vice president Evans Hankey and human interface design vice president Alan Dye will report directly to Apple COO Jeff Williams.

No other details were immediately available about Ive's future company.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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