Alan Dye, Jony Ive, and Richard Howarth

Apple’s Jony Ive has served as the company’s Senior Vice President of Design for several years now, but Apple has announced today that the executive is being named Chief Design Officer (a newly-created position). Additionally, Ive and will be handing the managerial reins of both the industrial and software design units at Apple over to two new leaders on July 1st.

Richard Howarth will become VP of Industrial Design and focus on hardware. Howarth has been part of the iPhone team since the very first generation of the device was in development.

Alan Dye will now be VP of User Interface Design, which covers both desktop and mobile devices. He was a key player in iOS 7’s major redesign as well as the work on the new Watch OS interface. Both of these executives were mentioned as key Apple employees during the New Yorker and WIRED Apple Watch profiles earlier this year.

Ive’s new role will still leave him in charge of the company’s hardware and software design teams overall, but allowing others to handle the day-to-day affairs of each design group will free him up for other tasks. Among those other tasks, Ive says, is a focus on the design of Apple’s retail stores and new campus.

In fact, Ive’s part in designing the new campus extends beyond the building itself. He is responsible for designing a number of other items, such as the desks and chairs that will be used by employees.

The leadership change was first announced in a Telegraph profile by Stephen Fry today. An email from CEO Tim Cook to Apple employees, obtained by our Mark Gurman, confirmed the change today and helped flesh out the details of Ive’s new position and those of his new design leaders:

Team,

I have exciting news to share with you today. I am happy to announce that Jony Ive is being promoted to the newly created position of Chief Design Officer at Apple.

Jony is one of the most talented and accomplished designers of his generation, with an astonishing 5000 design and utility patents to his name. His new role is a reflection of the scope of work he has been doing at Apple for some time. Jony’s design responsibilities have expanded from hardware and, more recently, software UI to the look and feel of Apple retail stores, our new campus in Cupertino, product packaging and many other parts of our company.

Design is one of the most important ways we communicate with our customers, and our reputation for world-class design differentiates Apple from every other company in the world. As Chief Design Officer, Jony will remain responsible for all of our design, focusing entirely on current design projects, new ideas and future initiatives. On July 1, he will hand off his day-to-day managerial responsibilities of ID and UI to Richard Howarth, our new vice president of Industrial Design, and Alan Dye, our new vice president of User Interface Design.

Richard, Alan and Jony have been working together as colleagues and friends for many years. Richard has been a member of the Design team for two decades, and in that time he has been a key contributor to the design of each generation of iPhone, Mac, and practically every other Apple product. Alan started at Apple nine years ago on the Marcom team, and helped Jony build the UI team which collaborated with ID, Software Engineering and countless other groups on groundbreaking projects like iOS 7, iOS 8 and Apple Watch.

Please join me in congratulating these three exceptionally talented designers on their new roles at Apple.

Tim