Sign up to myFT Daily Digest to be the first to know about Automobiles news.
Sir Jony Ive is teaming up with Ferrari to help the supercar maker develop its first electric vehicle, as part of a broad alliance between the former Apple designer and the Agnelli dynasty’s holding company Exor.
Exor said on Monday it had formed a “long-term, multiyear collaboration” with LoveFrom, the firm that Ive founded in 2019 with longtime collaborator Marc Newson, starting with Ferrari but potentially extending to other companies in the group’s portfolio.
The Exor group, founded by Fiat co-founder Giovanni Agnelli and now run by his grandson John Elkann, is Ferrari’s largest shareholder. It also holds stakes in Stellantis, the automaker that owns Fiat Chrysler, Citroën and Maserati, as well as Juventus football club and luxury fashion brands Christian Louboutin and Shang Xia.
In addition to working alongside the Ferrari design team on its full range of forthcoming cars, which is set to include its first fully electric vehicle by 2025, Ive is joining the iconic Italian marque as it pushes into fashion, with its first runway show held at its Maranello factory earlier this year.
Ive, who as Apple’s top designer helped develop the Mac, iPod and iPhone, will also be reunited with the Silicon Valley company’s services chief, Eddy Cue, who sits on Ferrari’s board.
“As Ferrari owners and collectors, we could not be more excited about collaborating with this extraordinary company and in particular with the design team expertly led by Flavio Manzoni,” Ive and Newson said in a joint statement. “We see some uniquely exciting opportunities working together which we believe will yield important and valuable work.”
Ive left Apple two years ago to launch LoveFrom, a new “creative collective”, with the iPhone maker as its first client. Since then, Ive and Newson have maintained a low profile, while also luring several members of Apple’s famed design team to join LoveFrom.
The group’s only other publicly announced client is Airbnb, the home rental site, which said last October that Ive would help to redesign its systems and develop new products.
Ive’s decision to join one of the world’s most famous car brands comes just as Apple’s own secretive automotive project was dealt a blow earlier this month, when its head Doug Field was poached by Ford.
Elkann announced in April that Ferrari would unveil its first fully electric car in 2025, which he described as a “landmark in our history”.
In June, Ferrari surprised observers by appointing an electronics specialist, Benedetto Vigna, as its new chief executive. Vigna had previously spent more than two decades at STMicroelectronics, the French-Italian chipmaker that is one of Apple’s key suppliers.
Elkann approached Ive and Newson, who described him as a friend of “many years”, soon after they launched LoveFrom. “Ferrari represents a first, exciting chance to do great things together as we build our future,” Elkann said. Ive will also join Exor’s Partners Council, a group of external advisers that is chaired by former UK chancellor George Osborne.