Apple has Jony Ive and Samsung has Lee Don-tae, both top industrial design executives charged with turning out devices that get consumers excited. At Google, their closest counterpart now may be Ivy Ross, a marketing and product design veteran promoted last month to lead the company’s industrial design teams.
Ms. Ross’ promotion, to the post of vice president of design and user experience for hardware products, signals a changing of the guard in Google’s industrial design teams. Until recently the most influential design talent at Google was the husband-and-wife team of Mike Simonian and Maaike Evers, originally brought in by former Android chief Andy Rubin in 2011. The pair departed Google in July, three months after former Motorola Mobility president Rick Osterloh was appointed chief of a new Google hardware product team that includes smartphones, laptops, the successor to Google Glass known as Project Aura, and Chromecast. (Mr. Simonian said in an email that he and Ms. Evers left to focus on their independent industrial design work. A Google spokeswoman declined to comment on their departure.)