Samsung Makes Lee Don-tae the New Global Design Chief

Posted by at 4:12 pm on January 19, 2015

Samsung has named its new vice president and global design chief as Lee Don-tae. The new lead is notably the former co-president of Tangerine, a London-based design consultancy which once employed Jonathan Ive before leaving for Apple, with the appointment said to indicate an overall design shift at the South Korean electronics producer.

Samsung officials told the Korea Herald Lee “will work to elevate Samsung’s design prowess overall rather than focusing on a specific product.” This may make Lee’s role similar to Ive’s over at Apple, though he will have a hand in the design of a wider variety of electronic goods compared to Ive’s position. While Lee is likely to provide general guidance for design, it is possible he will take a more active role on important projects, such as working closely with mobile design vice president Lee Min-hyouk on flagship smartphones or tablets.

The 47-year-old designer majored in industrial design from Hongik University before gaining a Ph.D in “human environment and design” from Yonsei University, and has studied the design of products at the UK’s Royal College of Art. His time working at Tangerine is highlighted by being on a team behind the British Airways “z-shaped” business-class cabin and seating configuration, which helped increase capacity by 20 percent and increased the airline’s profits by $738 million.

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