Apple, Companies

Is Design Guru Jonathan Ive Cashing In and Leaving Apple?

Jonathan Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of industrial design, could be on the verge of selling stock and leaving the company so he and his wife Heather are able to educate their twins in England. Ive was born in Essex, England, but he moved to the US in 1992 to work for Apple after spending a short time at London-based design shop Tangerine.

According to a story by The Sunday Times entitled "I created the iPad and iClaim my £18m" (subscription required), Ive informed Apple’s board of directors about his plans and proposed to "commute" from his $4 million manor house in Somerset, England to the company’s Cupertino, California headquarters. The board is reportedly dismissive of the idea, says an unnamed close friend of the family:

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.

A spokesperson for Apple denied the report and said it was speculative. The story goes on to mention that Ive’s "golden handcuffs" deal from 2008 is about to expire, possibly tempting him to consider selling stock and moving to England in case no amicable solution could be reached. Cashing in might make Ive one of the richest Britons. Due to Apple’s rising fortunes propelled by the success of the iPhone and iPod, a £7million (about $12 million) option grand issued in 2008 is now worth more than twice as much, or £15.5million (about $25million). If he were to sell those shares, Ive’s combined net worth would be a cool $128 million. "Apple stood for something and had a reason for being that wasn?t just about making money," Ive said in an interview with the Design Museum.