Jim Wicks, the man responsible for the celebrated designs of the 2013 Moto X and 2014 Moto 360 smartwatch, is leaving the former Motorola after 15 years of loyal service. Having joined Motorola in 2001 after design lead roles at Sony and Sapient, Wicks was part of the leadership team that stayed on during the tumult of being taken over by Google and sold on to Lenovo. But this year has seen the Motorola name phased out from public use and Rick Osterloh, the previous chief of the company, departing to head up a new hardware unit at Google. Wicks is now following suit and moving into academia, joining Northwestern University's Segal Design Institute as a full-time faculty member.
The once-Motorola is now an embattled mobile hardware division trying to find its proper place in the larger Lenovo monolith. The Moto name remains, and the recent Moto Z introduction shows there's still plenty of courage to try new and aggressively different designs, but the future of the company is decidedly uncertain. With two of its former leaders now gone, the only thing remaining of the Motorola legacy might eventually be just the name — or rather, half the name.