Evan Sharp and Jony Ive (right).

In a surprise announcement on Thursday afternoon, legendary Apple design honcho Jony Ive revealed that he’s leaving after more than a quarter-century with the company.

Tech executives love to wax poetic about the ideals and vision of their employers, at least until they ditch them to launch their own companies. Here, too, Ive — who’s responsible for some of tech’s most iconic products, including the iPhone, iPod and Mac — seems to have caught start-up fever.

Ive is reportedly working with designer Marc Newson on forming another business called LoveFrom. But it seems the reality of leaving Apple behind entirely might be too much for the industrial designer, who plans to continue working with Apple — as a vendor.

As he told the press, “While I will not be an employee [at Apple], I will still be very involved — I hope for many, many years to come.” For now, the tech giant has no immediate plans to replace Ive, but instead looks to fill the void with existing vice presidents Evans Hankey and Alan Dye, who run industrial design and human interface design, respectively.

Ive’s resignation follows others, including former retail chief Angela Ahrendts, who departed in April.