IKEA Furniture Magnate Ingvar Kamprad Dies at 91

30 January, 2018, 01:01 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • The founder of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad, has died, aged 91

Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of the global furniture company IKEA, has died at the age of 91.

Elmtaryd is the name of Kamprad's family farm in Smaland, a small southern Swedish province known for its thrifty attitude and hard-working people, and Agunnaryd is the town where Kamprad grew up.

"He wanted to appear a man of the people, one of us", Stenebo wrote in a behind-the-scenes book, "The Truth About Ikea", released shortly after he left the company almost a decade ago. He found that he could buy them in bulk very cheaply from Stockholm, and sell them at a low price but still make a good profit.

In 1947, the young Kamprad started selling furniture made by local artisans, and four years later he began putting out the first of his mail order catalogues - which now have an annual print run of 200 million copies in 33 languages.

"People have tried to reproduce and copy that, but unsuccessfully", he said.

In the 1998 book, he gave more details about his youthful "delusions", saying he had been influenced as child by his German grandmother's strong support for Hitler.

A customer signs a book of condolences at the entrance of an IKEA store in Stockholm.

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Now, I hate to milkshake duck the recently departed, but I'm gonna do it: Kamprad also faced controversy over the past couple of decades for his involvement in fascist movements back in the 1930s and 40s.

IKEA celebrates its Swedish heritage: the company's stores are painted blue and yellow like the Swedish flag and serve meatballs and other traditional Swedish food.

"The comedian Amy Poehler once claimed that IKEA was Swedish for 'argument.' If so, Ingvar Kamprad - the "IK" in IKEA - was responsible for countless do-it-yourself assembly quarrels in a world he furnished with cheap, simple and sometimes disposable bookcases, tables and sofas", writes Rick Hampson for USA Today.

He returned the area of his youth in 2014, only a year after stepping down as IKEA's chairman.

His decision to live overseas, mainly in Switzerland, to avoid Sweden's high income taxes was also widely criticised. They had two cars, a 2008 Skoda and a 1993 Volvo 240. Records from his estate showed he donated more than $20 million to philanthropic causes in 2012 alone.

Kamprad remained with the company right up until 2013, when he stepped down from the board at the age of 87.

Ikea has remained privately-owned under a Dutch trust operated by the Kamprad family. AP Business Writer Michael Liedtke contributed from San Francisco.

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