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Ingvar Kamprad, Ikea’s Swedish Billionaire Founder, Dies at 91

Ingvar Kamprad, whose boyhood business of selling pencils and seeds from his bicycle in Sweden eventually developed into the Ikea furniture chain, has died. He was 91.

” One of the greatest entrepreneurs of the 20 th century, Ingvar Kamprad, has peacefully passed away at his home in Smaland, Sweden, on Jan. 27, ” Ikea said in an emailed statement on Sunday. The founder of Ikea, as well as a bank for its patrons, Ikano, “was ” surrounded by his loved ones ,” and succumbed” following a short illness.”

Kamprad had an estimated net worth of $58.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, building him the world’s eighth-richest person. The wealth was accumulated by rendering furniture for the masses that was affordable and easy to transport. The Ikea flat packs revolutionized the style in which tables, chairs and other items could be stored and shipped, before being assembled by the customer.

” We are mourning the loss of our founder and dear friend Ingvar ,” Jesper Brodin, chief executive officer of the Ikea Group, the most significant retailer in the Ikea franchise system, said in a statement.” His legacy will be admired for many years to come and his vision — to create a better daily life for the many people — will continue to guide and inspire us .”

Frugal Billionaire

Kamprad was known for driving an old Volvo, recycling tea containers and taking home little packets of salt and pepper from restaurant visits. He was known as “Uncle Scrooge” and” The Miser” in the Swiss village of Epalinges, near Lausanne, where he moved in the 1970 s before returning to Sweden a few years ago. He likewise avoided wearing suits and ties and traveled coach-and-four when flying.

Ikea’s corporate culture reflects Kamprad’s celebration of prudence. Executives of the company travel on low-cost airlines and lodge in budget hotels. Its employees follow a basic pamphlet written by Kamprad in 1976,” The Testament of a Furniture Dealer ,” which is to say that” wasting resources is a mortal sin ,” and stipulates Ikea’s “duty to expand.”

Brodin, who during his job at Ikea worked for three years as an deputy to Kamprad, said in a phone interview on Sunday that the billionaire” started as a 17 -year-old with two empty pockets, but a ton of entrepreneurship. He used to tell me that he never knew it would become so big.”

Kamprad’s death” will affect us all and we’ll take time to be sad and reflect on what Ingvar attained, ” Brodin said.

Condolences poured in from legislators, business leaders and royalty. Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said his country had lost a” unique entrepreneur who intended a lot to Sweden’s business community .”

Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said Kamprad” pre-eminently set Sweden on the world map. A fantastic entrepreneur who contributed to bringing Sweden out into the world. My beliefs are with his family and relatives .”

The Ikea Experience

Entire families descended on the company’s stores each week and Ikea’s merchandise became ubiquitous. Shoppers drop off their children at Ikea day-care centres, dine at Ikea eateries and select from among thousands of products ranging from leather sofas to soup ladles. In 2017, 403 Ikea storages in 49 countries received 936 million guests, and the chain generated sales of 38.3 million euro ($ 47.6 billion ).

U.K. style publication Icon in 2005 named Kamprad the most influential taste-maker in the world, and wrote” if it wasn’t for Ikea, most people would have no access to affordable contemporary intend. The corporation has done more to bring about an acceptance of domestic modernity than the rest of the design world blended .”

The name Ikea is made up of the founder’s initials and the first letters of the Elmtaryd farm and Agunnaryd village where he was raised. His flat-pack furniture was fabricated by Ikea employee Gillis Lundgren in 1956 when he tried to fit a table into the back of a car. Realise the table was too bulky, Lundgren removed the legs. Storing and selling Billy book shelves or entire kitchens in pieces has let Ikea cut storage space and fill its trucks with more goods.

The concept of having clients pick up most of their own furniture in adjacent warehouses and transport it home for self-assembly also helped drive down costs.

Childhood Business

Ingvar Feodor Kamprad was born March 30, 1926, near the southern Swedish township of Almhult. “His fathers”, Feodor, appeared after the family farm and his mother, Berta, ran a lodging house on the property in the summer. At age 5, Kamprad started his business ventures by selling matches to his neighbors. Buying in bulk in Stockholm and selling at a premium in smaller quantities, he got his introduction to a business practise he would cherish at Ikea.

The entrepreneur, who was still attending high school in Gothenburg, moved on to fish, Christmas-tree medals, seeds and pencils, which he sold from his bicycle. Founding Ikea in 1943, Kamprad then started marketing pens, billfolds and nylon stockings in the local media, and distributed them using a milk van. He began selling furniture in 1948.

In the 1990 s, Kamprad discovered himself under attempt when his association with a pro-Nazi group, five decades earlier, came to illumination. Kamprad apologized to Ikea employees, saying his membership was the” greatest mistake of their own lives .”

Ikea opened its first storage in Almhult, Sweden, in 1958.

Kamprad stepped down as CEO in the late 1980 s. He continued to wield power as an adviser to the holding company, and he designed an ownership structure to ensure Ikea’s future survival and liberty. An Ikea employee magazine in 2012 revealed that his three sons had been given more active roles at the closely comprised corporation. In 2013, he relinquished his role as chairman of Inter Ikea Group.

” Since 1988 Ingvar Kamprad did not have an operational role within Ikea but he continued to contribute to the business in the responsibilities of the senior advisor, sharing their skills and energy with the Ikea co-workers, ” the company said on Sunday.

Kamprad” was a great entrepreneur of the typical southern Swedish kind — hardworking and stubborn, with a lot of warmth and a playful twinkle in his eye ,” Ikea said in the statement.” He worked until the very end of his life, biding true to his own motto that most things remain to be done .”

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