Apple Design Honcho Ive Reportedly Looking To Move Back To UK

How flexible is Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) in its teleworking policy? We might find out soon, with the company’s head of design apparently looking to leave Cupertino and move back to his home country of England.

According to a report in the Sunday Times in London, Jonathan Ive, Apple’s senior VP in charge of industrial design, is at “loggerheads” with the company because he wants to move back to England with his wife Heather and their two twin sons — the family has a house in Somerset — but Apple does not want him to.

The article also notes that Ive is due to get £18 million (about $30 million) on the back of “golden handshake”: Ive will soon receive Apple shares worth £25 million, which he was able to buy for £7 million three years ago as an incentive to stay with the company. His personal fortune is estimated to be around $130 million.

With the three-year term coming to a close, it looks like people are starting to wonder whether it will lead to Ive reconsidering where he bases himself. That’s resulting in a little push and pull. According to a “friend”:

“He is just too valuable to Apple and they told him in no uncertain terms that if he headed back to England he would not be able to sustain his position with them.”

If he’s valuable enough, though, Apple may look at how they could work around its remote working policy.

Ive — the design mastermind behind the iPod, iPhone and iPad — is a key executive at Apple, particularly since CEO Steve Jobs took another medical leave of absence.

The company is expected to launch a second, enhanced version of the iPad tablet later this week.

The iPad, in a way, has been a kind of culmination for Ive. According to one recounting of how the iPhone came into existence, it started first as a proto-tablet — a way of re-imagining the PC — before Jobs and others decided to apply the touchscreen interface first to the iPod and subsequently the iPhone.