Apple’s chief design officer Jony Ive has been appointed chancellor of London’s famous Royal College of Art (RCA). The RCA has been ranked as the world’s best university for art and design for three years running.

Ive, who was awarded an honorary doctorate by the RCA back in 2009, says he is thrilled by the news …

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I am thrilled to formalise my relationship with the RCA, given the profound influence the college has had on so many of the artists and designers that I admire. Our design team includes many RCA alumni, who embody the fundamental values of the college. I look forward to advising both the college and students, hoping that my experience proves useful in their work.

Business Insider notes that Ive will begin the unpaid position in July.

In his five-year term as chancellor, Ive will preside over meetings and help to govern the college. He will not be paid for his efforts.

Paul Thompson, rector of the Royal College of Art, described Ive as the world’s leading designer.

It is a great honour to be joined by the world’s leading designer of his generation, who has produced consistently innovative and commercially successful technology and design. As chancellor, Jony embodies the RCA’s ideals of technology and design excellence, inspiring students and staff, and enabling us to educate the next generation of world-leading artists and designers.

While the role is very much a part-time one, involving little more than attending occasional meetings, it does represent a further step back by Ive, who reportedly wants to spend more time in the UK. Ive handed off his managerial duties back in 2015, and we noted at the time that the move likely had more significance than Apple wanted to reveal. His RCA role will likely increase the amount of time he spends back in his home country.

Photo: Reuters/Stephen Lam