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Airbnb hires former Apple designer Jony Ive's firm for multi-year partnership

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Airbnb is displayed at an Airbnb event in Tokyo, Japan, June 14, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

OAKLAND, Calif. (Reuters) - Home rental company Airbnb Inc on Wednesday said it was hiring former Apple designer Jony Ive and his firm to design new Airbnb products and services under a multi-year deal.

Ive was a close creative collaborator with Apple Inc AAPL.O co-founder Steve Jobs. Ive spent nearly three decades at Apple, leading the design of the candy-colored iMacs that helped Apple re-emerge from near death in the 1990s and the design of the iPhone. He left Apple last year.

In a blog announcing the work relationship, Airbnb Chief Executive Brian Chesky said Ive will also help develop the Airbnb internal design team.

Airbnb on Wednesday told employees Chief Design Officer Alex Schleifer would be moving to a part-time role and that the company would be looking for a permanent replacement, according to a source close to the company.

The deal with Ive and his firm, LoveFrom, coincides with Airbnb’s effort to raise around $3 billion in its upcoming initial public offering, according to sources.

Airbnb is expected to be one of the largest and most anticipated U.S. stock market listings of 2020 which has already been a blockbuster year for IPOs.

Reporting By Jane Lanhee Lee; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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