Since leaving Apple in the middle of last year, Sir Jony Ive has launched a new design agency, LoveFrom, and taken on clients including Airbnb. Now he could be headed for the figurative driver’s seat at Ferrari — as the Italian luxury carmaker’s next CEO. Possibly.
According to a report from Reuters, Ive — by far the best-known designer in Apple history — is in the running to take over as Ferrari’s next CEO. Given Ive’s love of high-end cars, that has to be a job he would be tempted by!
Previous Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri announced he was retiring with immediate effect late last week. He had been in the CEO role for two-and-a-half years, since the death of predecessor Sergio Marchionne in July 2018. Chairman John Elkann will lead the company on an interim basis until a replacement CEO is found.
Ive isn’t the only contender for the Ferrari top job, however. Former Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao has been mentioned, although “a source close” to him shot down the rumors. Former head of Ferrari’s racing team Stefano Domenicali is also in the conversation. He is currently CEO of fellow Italian sports car manufacturer Automobili Lamborghini.
Interestingly, Ive’s not the only Apple-related contender for Ferrari’s top spot. Reuters says Apple CFO Luca Maestri has also been mentioned. Apple’s financial boss since 2014, Maestri previously spent several years as the company’s vice president of finance and corporate controller.
Jony Ive is passionate about cars
Ive would seem to be a long shot for the role of Ferrari boss in some ways. He hasn’t got a long history of running companies, although he was heavily involved with Tangerine, a design agency he helped found before joining Apple. Since leaving Apple, as noted, he has run a design agency, LoveFrom, alongside fellow design pal Marc Newson. However, Ive worked for many years alongside Steve Jobs, and his job at Apple extended way beyond “just” designing products.
Ive is also passionate about cars. One of the moments that made him want to be a designer was when his dad, Mike Ive, took him to a car design studio in London. The pair spent hours restoring a vintage Austin-Healey Sprite. And Jony Ive briefly considered studying car design at university.
After he made it big at Apple, Ive bought himself supercars like the James Bond-associated Aston Martin DB9, a Bentley and more. He also attended (and maybe still attends) the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where people show off various high-end cars.
Ive is outspoken about modern cars
While it’s not been confirmed, it wouldn’t seem too surprising if Ive had been a key figure in pushing the Apple Car project inside Apple. “There are some shocking cars on the road,” Ive was quoted as saying in a 2015 New Yorker article, referring to a Toyota Echo. “It is baffling, isn’t it? It’s just nothing, isn’t it? It’s just insipid.” Not too long after that, the Apple Car rumors really took off.
Having designed everything from computers to phones to, err, Christmas tree displays, being able to help shape the future of Ferrari — a company that dates back to 1939 and has produced some of the most stunning cars in history — would seemingly be a great opportunity for Apple’s former design guru. It could scratch an itch he’s had since childhood. The question is whether Ive will be offered the job.