Motorola's senior vice president of consumer experience design, Jim Wicks, has departed the company to join the faculty at Northwestern University. Wicks had been with Motorola for 15 years and was its head of design for the past 12 years.

Jim Wick

Wicks' departure comes just a couple of weeks after Motorola's parent company Lenovo announced the division's latest smartphone, the Moto Z. Wicks joined Motorola in 2001 and helped to create some of the company's best selling mobile phones, including the Razr and Droid smartphones.

Crain's Chicago Business got a statement from Motorola about Wicks' decision:

"We greatly appreciate Jim's contributions in leading a consumer experience design team that delivered standout, iconic, and award-winning industrial design and user experiences for Moto's mobile and wearable products," said Aymar de Lencquesaing, chairman of Motorola Mobility and co-president of Lenovo's mobile business group. "We wish Jim well as he enters this new phase in his career.

Wicks will be on the faculty at the Segal Design Institute at Northwestern starting in July. Ruben Castano, who has been with Motorola since 2005, will take over as design leader. Earlier this year, Motorola president Rick Osterloh left the company to become the head of Google's hardware projects.

Read our interview with Wicks

We caught up with Jim Wicks in 2015 as part of our Android History project. He led us through the major transformation we'd seen in Motorola, as well as in Android itself. He talked about the transition from an independent company to being under Google, and then later as the company became part of Lenovo.

Read the full interview