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Could Jonny Ive Leave Apple?

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The man credited with creating the iconic designs for the iPod, iPhone and iPad could be about to give up his position in Apple to settle back in his native England, if reports in The Sunday Times can be believed.

Jonathon 'Jony' Ives, Vice President of Design at Apple, is about to benefit from an £18 million windfall, the fruits of a “golden handcuffs” deal which saw him able to buy £25 million worth of Apple shares for just £7 million three years ago. The deal, struck in 2008 amid the financial crisis, meant Ive had to stay with the company for three years to qualify for the windfall. With the iPad 2 launch coming up in a couple of days, the Sunday Times says that, not that he is free to move, Ive and his wife are eager for their sons to be educated in England and Ive is considering moving back to his £2.5 million Somerset mansion.
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Sources quoted by the Times however believe that Apple would not support such a move: “They have told him in no uncertain terms that if he headed back to England he would not be able to sustain his position with them." Apple, understandably, would not want to lose such an important component of its team considering the remarkable success it has had with the products Ive has been involved with. Wednesday's unveiling of the iPad 2, another product Ive has had considerable input into, is another important date for Apple and with Steve Jobs on a medical leave of absence, losing Ive would not be what the Cupertino outfit would want.

Considering the digital world we currently live in, it seems inconceivable that Apple and Ive would not be able to come to some sort of understanding regarding his relocation to England. With Apple remaining tight-lipped regarding its succession policy for Steve Jobs, this could point to the possibility of the Englishman taking the reigns when Jobs does finally step down.

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