If you follow Apple, you’ve no doubt heard of Jonathan Ive, Apple’s Senior VP of Industrial Design. Ive’s design sensibilities have been an integral facet in the development of nearly every major Apple product launch since Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997. From the iPod to sleek MacBooks to a slew of iMacs and of course the iPhone, Ive is a big part of the reason why Apple’s products are routinely adored for their industrial design.
We don’t want to say that losing Ive would be the death-knell for Apple, but there’s no denying that Ive is as important to Apple as any other executive one can think of. But as the world turns, real life happens, and the Times of London is reporting today that Ive is at the very least contemplating moving back to England.
First, some background.
In 2008, Ive received a golden handcuffs option grant enabling him to buy shares of Apple (when they were trading at around $100) that he is now allowed to sell. With shares of Apple now hovering in the $340 range, Ive’s windfall may be as much as $30 million, a hefty sum which puts Ive’s total net worth at an estimated $128 million.
With money not an obstacle, the Times reports that Ive and his wife Heather are contemplating moving back to London on account of wanting their twin sons to have a British education. The article relays that Apple’s board and Ive have “been at loggerheads” over Ive’s desire to move back home and commute from the UK to Cupertino. Apple, though, has reportedly made it clear that should Ive move back home, he would not be able to retain his position at Apple.
Reaching out to Apple for comment, the Times was told that Ive’s desire to move back to England is merely “speculation.” Interestingly, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has previously called Ive “one of my best friends in the whole world.”
In the video below taken from the 2009 documentary Objectified, Ive talks about what constitutes good design.