Apple CEO Tim Cook hit back very strongly at suggestions that Jony Ive decided to leave Apple due to a falling out with the leadership team.
In a statement sent to NBC News, Cook yesterday called a Wall Street Journal report about superstar designer Jony Ive’s supposedly contentious departure and Cook’s own alleged lack of interest in design “absurd.”
The Apple CEO sent an email to NBC reporter Dylan Byers explaining that the conclusions from WSJ‘s report “don’t match reality.” He also added that he’s confident that the design team will thrive under Jeff Williams, Evans Hankey, and Alan Dye’s leadership, and deliver projects that will “blow you away.”
Exclusive: In scathing email, Apple CEO Tim Cook tells me the @WSJ report about Jony Ive’s departure — and his frustration with Cook’s alleged lack of interest in design — is “absurd.” Says reporting and conclusions “don’t match with reality.”
— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) July 1, 2019
Byers then claimed on Twitter that a Wall Street Journal spokesperson told him “the paper stands by its report.”
The WSJ report from earlier this week claimed Ive was left “dispirited” by Tim Cook, in stark contrast to his close relationship with Steve Jobs. Cook apparently “showed little interest in the product development process,” according to the paper’s sources. Ive was also left frustrated by the makeup of Apple’s board of directors, which was filled with people with backgrounds outside of Apple’s core business.
The report said Ive’s enthusiasm for Apple waned after the Apple Watch launch wasn’t as successful as projected. Ive supposedly set up a studio in San Francisco and had Apple prototypes delivered to him in Pelican cases, and allegedly showed up late for some meetings or even skipped design weeks for software teams.
Ive plans to start a new design firm called LoveFrom — Apple will be its first client. The WSJ report claimed that Apple will pay LoveFrom “millions of dollars a year to continue to work with Apple.”
Ive’s departure doesn’t seem to have done Apple’s share price any harm, but it does increase the pressure on the company to prove it can still be a consumer technology trailblazer without him.