SYDNEY, 1 MARCH 2011 - This post was originally published on Mashable.com
Is Jonathan Ive, Apple's senior vice president of industrial design, packing his bags and moving back to the UK? Worse, did Apple tell him if he moves back to England he can’t keep working for Apple? That’s what the Times of London is reporting.
According to the Times (behind a paywall) and the Daily Mail, Ive received an option grant in 2008 that’s now worth $US30 million, and if he sold that stock, his combined net worth would be $US128 million. The designer (called Jony Ive by his friends) has been “at loggerheads” with the Apple board about the amount of time he spends in the UK, where he would like for his two children to go to school, the report notes.
According to the Times, an anonymous friend of Ives was quoted as saying, “unfortunately he is just too valuable to Apple and they told him in no uncertain terms that if he headed back to England he would not be able to sustain his position with them”.
Why is Ive so important, anyway? The 44-year-old designer is the head of the industrial design team that created most of Apple’s iconic products. He’s known as the driving force behind the design of the iPod, iPhone, today’s iPad and the upcoming iPad 2, all the MacBooks and the iMac, among others.
Given the illness of Steve Jobs and Apple’s murky succession plan, this latest story about Ive could be another upcoming obstacle for Apple, spurring further worries about the future of the company. However, an Apple spokesperson told the Times of London that any claims of Ive wanting to move to England are “speculation”.
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