Apple is facing a major departure from its corporate leadership as Evans Hankey, head of hardware design, announced that she will be leaving the role earlier this week. Hankey has been Apple’s head of hardware design since 2019 and told colleagues that she will remain in her position for the next six months before her official departure in 2023. While people may be anxious to know who will be replacing her once she leaves, no successor has been named.
Hankey’s departure marks a significant change in Apple’s research and development department, especially because her time as head of hardware design was relatively brief when comparing it to Jony Ive , who held the position for 20 years before being replaced by her. Both Ive and Hankey have been responsible for shipping some of Apple’s most iconic devices, so whoever steps up as the new department head will have quite the reputation to follow.
With Hankey leaving, there is plenty of speculation already stirring about the production of Apple’s ambitious, albeit still relatively unknown future endeavors, such as its VR headset and AR glasses. Because the company is poised to start breaking new ground with its upcoming devices, having a new, unknown hardware designer helming things turns all future projects into big question marks — or rather, into even bigger question marks.
In a statement to Bloomberg regarding the future of its hardware design department, an Apple spokesman said: “Apple’s design team brings together expert creatives from around the world and across many disciplines to imagine products that are undeniably Apple.” The spokesman also noted that the company’s design team has “strong leaders with decades of experience.”
Based on the fact that Hankey reported to Ive as a part of the design team before eventually replacing him in the role, it seems like a safe bet to assume that the new head of hardware design will be stepping up from a different internal design position. This is a pretty common trend as Apple tends to find replacements for its most senior positions by looking to people who are already familiar with its process as opposed to complete newcomers to the company. However, it’s still possible, if unlikely, that Apple might look elsewhere for a replacement. Until the company makes an official announcement, we’ll all just have to wait.