Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA (Sweden’s furniture chain) in 1943 aged 17 dies at the age of 91. According to a statement released on IKEA’s website titled “Ingvar Kamprad 1926 – 2018,” “The founder of IKEA and one of the greatest entrepreneurs of the 20th century, Ingvar Kamprad has passed away at the age of 91.”
The CEO and President of Inter IKEA Group, Torbjörn Lööf said “We are deeply saddened by Ingvar’s passing. We will remember his dedication and commitment to always side with the many people. To never give up, always try to become better and lead by example.”
The company became a lifelong commitment to Ingvar Kamprad at the age of 17, with a vision of “creating a better everyday life for the many people”. Kamprad who composed the company name from his own initials and the initials of where he grew up in Swedish countryside built the company into one of the best-known retailers in the world before stepping down in 2013 for his youngest son who is currently the company’s chairman.
IKEA is one of the world’s largest furniture retailers, with 412 stores across 49 countries. It is known as a global destination for ready-to-assemble furniture, home furnishing, appliances, kitchen products and home accessories. Its most popular product is the functional, flatpack (ready-to-assemble) furniture usually assembled by customers, like the Malm chests of drawers and Billy shelves.
Information from the company’s website reaffirmed that Ingvar Kamprad has only served the company as a senior advisor since 1988, with a major role of "sharing his knowledge and energy with the IKEA co-workers." "We are mourning the loss of our founder and dear friend Ingvar. His legacy will be admired for many years to come and his vision – to create a better everyday life for the many people – will continue to guide and inspire us," says the CEO and President of the IKEA Group, Jesper Brodin.
According to Swedish media reports, Kamprad has a net worth of about 610bn Swedish kronor (about $76bn) as at 2016, making him one of the world’s richest people. He married twice and moved to Denmark in 1973 before lowering his tax bill by moving to Switzerland until 2014 when he moved back to Sweden.
IKEA started selling affordable furniture five years after it was founded in 1943 and the first catalog was out in 1951. In 1955 an employee in the company, Gillis Lundgren brought an idea of removing the legs from a table and putting them beneath its top. That became IKEA’s trademark flat-pack furniture while also offering a cheaper and easier means of transporting furniture from the company. In 1963, the company opened their first store outside Sweden in Norway and began its market journey in Europe. In 1985, the company opened their first store in the US.
“Ingvar’s extensive knowledge and engagement over the years have been a huge source of inspiration. His heritage is always with us and we will continue to constantly search for new and better ways – to find solutions that no one else has thought of and to do great things for the many people, together”, says the CEO of Ikano Group, Lars Thorsén.