Apple's Jony Ive promoted to chief design officer

Ive will focus on designing retail stores and the company's new campus, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced in a company memo.

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Jony Ive has been promoted to the newly created position of chief design officer. Apple

Jony Ive, the design guru responsible for the minimalist characteristics of several Apple products over the years, has been promoted by the iPhone maker.

Ive, who has served as the company's senior vice president of design for several years, has been named to the newly created position of chief design officer, according to a memo sent to company employees by Apple CEO Tim Cook. In his new position, Ive will still be in charge of the company's hardware and software design teams, but some of his day-to-day managerial responsibilities will be handed off to two new leaders of each department on July 1, according to the memo, which was published by 9to5mac.

While Ive focuses on other tasks such as the design of Apple's retail stores and the company's new campus in Cupertino, Calif., his managerial duties will be delegated to Richard Howarth, the new VP of Industrial Design and focus on hardware, and Alan Dye, Apple's new VP of User Interface Design.

Apple confirmed the memo's authenticity, saying it was thrilled to announce Ive's appointment to the newly created post.

"In this new role, he will focus entirely on current design projects, new ideas and future initiatives," Apple said in a statement.

Ive, 48, joined Apple as a full-time employee in 1992 and became its chief of industrial design after Apple co-founder Steve Jobs returned to the company in 1997. Under Ive's direction, Apple's put out a list of iconic products including the iMac, iPod, and iPad .

Considered close friends, Jobs and Ive often ate lunch together and collaborated on different Apple products. Jobs also held the design wizard in high esteem, and Ive was considered to be on a short list of candidates to replace Jobs when he retired before his death in 2011.

Ive's design responsibilities were expanded in 2012 to include software when he was put in charge of a new department called Human Interface. The word "industrial" was trimmed from his title in 2013.

The promotion was first reported by The Telegraph.

Updated at 7:30 p.m. PT to include Apple's statement.