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Jeff Williams has taken control of Apple's industrial design team

Jeff Williams will oversee Apple industrial designers

Apple has decided to eliminate the role of industrial design chief after Evans Hankey announced her departure from the position, and the team will start reporting to Jeff Williams.

Hankey, the replacement for vice president of industrial design Jony Ives, made the announcement in October that she would leave Apple.

Now, Bloomberg reports that Apple's core group of about 20 industrial designers will report to Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer. The company will also give more prominent roles to a group of Apple's longest-tenured designers.

Hankey had reported to Williams since taking on the industrial design role in 2019, when Jony Ive left to start his own company called LoveFrom. Ive worked for Apple for nearly three decades.

Apple split up its design group even before Ive left, however. As he stepped back from his day-to-day role at the company, the design team was split into industrial design to cover hardware and a separate group to focus on user interfaces in software, which Alan Dye continues to lead.

Apple reportedly had a difficult time in choosing a replacement for Hankey. The company wanted to hire from within instead of choosing someone from the outside.

However, at least 15 of Ive's top design team members have left the company. Many still remain.

The move adds more responsibilities to Jeff Williams, who some have seen as a potential successor to Tim Cook. Williams is in charge of worldwide operations, the supply chain, AppleCare customer care, software engineering for the watch and health initiatives, and now design.