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Samsung hires design chief with link to Jony Ive

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Lee Don-tae
Lee Don-tae (courtesy of Korea Herald)

Samsung has hired a new design chief direct from Jony Ive's old company.

Lee Don-tae formerly worked for London designer Tangerine, which is a where Jony Ive plied his trade prior to getting the call from Apple.

Now, Lee has the tricky task of turning around Samsung's mobile fortunes. Despite still being the world's biggest smartphone maker, the company's sales and profits have taken a notable hit in recent times.

This has seen the company rather belatedly turn to a more premium design language for its latest high-end phones. Starting with the Samsung Galaxy Alpha and carrying through the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Samsung Galaxy A-range, the company has introduced metal into its handsets.

Rumours suggest that the Samsung Galaxy S6 will represent a new start for the iconic flagship, possibly with a lot more metal and far less plastic.

As this suggests, Lee will arrive too late to influence this year's pivotal smartphone line for Samsung. But then, his role will reportedly be an altogether broader one within the company, reports The Korea Herald.

Apparently, Lee will be working as vice president and global design chief from Samsung's Design Management Center, which falls under the direct control of Samsung's chief executive.

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"He will work to elevate Samsung’s design prowess overall rather than focusing on a specific product," according to a Samsung official.

Still, Samsung will doubtless be hoping that a little Ive-influenced magic can rub off on its smartphone team for the second half of 2015.

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