Jony Ive, the man behind the iconic designs of the iPhone, iMac and iPad is leaving Apple later this year to form an independent design company.
Ive is a close creative collaborator with Apple Inc co-founder Steve Jobs.
Apple noted that Ive will continue work on its products at his new venture, but shares fell as much as 1.5 percent to $197.44 in after-market trading, wiping about $9bn from the firm’s value.
The Cupertino, California-based company did not give an exact date for his departure.
Ive has been a fixture on Apple’s design team since the early 1990s and is known for shaping Apple’s signature rounded, stylish designs.
He is often pointed to as the visionary behind what set Apple apart from its competitors’ technology that didn’t just look like boxes of wires, but fashionable and trendy.
Ive joined the company in 1992 as a young senior designer. Jobs was in the midst of his 12-year exile at the time, and upon his return, he named Ive senior vice president of industrial design.
The pair were known to work closely together in the decades before Jobs’s death in 2011.