UK newspapers today resurrected the rumour that Jonathan Ive is in line for the position of Apple CEO in the event of the departure from the post of Steve Jobs- while also claiming that the design guru is set to leave Apple. 

Currently Senior Vice President, Industrial Design for Apple, ‘Jony’ Ive first came to prominence with his design for the iMac, ‘Titanium’ PowerBook and MacBook lines, as well as leading the design team behind the iPod, iPhone and iPad. 

The Daily Mirror makes the claim that Apple’s board want Ive to take over from Jobs, currently on medical leave after a liver transplant. However that paper and others in the UK also claim that Essex-born Ive is dead set on returning to Britain. The papers imply that the decision to return has been sparked by a £18million payout that Ive is expected to receive from a “golden handcuffs” deal agreed three years ago, with The Daily Mirror setting the designer’s personal wealth at ‘£80million’.

The Daily Mail says the British-born designer is said to be 'at loggerheads' with the Apple board over his plans to spend more time back in the UK.

The Daily Mirror states that “sources say the creative genius wants to spend more time at his £2.5million Georgian manor house in Somerset. It is thought Ive and his wife Heather, 43, who met at Newcastle Polytechnic, want to have their twin sons educated in Britain.”

Quoting a story in yet another British newspaper, The Sunday Times, The Daily Mail reports: “A friend of the family told The Sunday Times: 'Unfortunately 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.'

Ive, rightly celebrated with numerous design awards and also a CBE, is described by the Daily Mirror in glowing celeb terms: “[Ive] owns a Bentley and an Aston Martin and has houses in Hawaii, San Francisco and England. And he counts Stephen Fry, Bono and fashion designer Paul Smith among his celebrity friends.”

However the CEO rumour seems like old news doing the rounds again - The Times ran a similar story in December 2007. Musings about the “postSteve scenario” at that time were not down to concerns about the health of Jobs, but were instead sparked by the possibility that the Apple co-founder would fall on his sword after “a scandal over stock options”.

As The Times said in the article: “Could this 40-year-old gym-toned, shaven-headed, Aston Martin-driving Brit, who lives in Twin Peaks, San Francisco, with his wife, who is a historian, and their twin sons, be the next man to run Apple Computer?”

Tim Cook, Apple chief operating officer, is currently in charge of Apple's day-to-day operations and is regarded in some quarters as the most likely successor to Jobs in the CEO post.