Ingvar Kamprad, Founder Of Ikea, Died At 91
Ingvar Kamprad passed away on Saturday in his home in Älmhult, Sweden, following a short illness. The founder of Ikea died at the age of 91 surrounded by his loved ones, according to a press statement released by the company.
Kamprad founded IKEA at the age of 17, peddling matches, fish and Christmas cards by bicycle. The company’s name is a combination of his initials of the first and last name, his family farm and the nearest village. He opened his first furniture store in 1947 and built it into one of the world’s largest and most successful retailers, which today has revenues of nearly $48 billion.
Known for his relentless pursuit of efficiency, Kamprad introduced the flat-pack in 1953, then moved production of his cheap chic furniture to Soviet Poland in 1961 to minimize labor costs. On the way to growing his home furnishings empire, he published the Furniture Dealer’s Testament or the “Ikea Bible,” which includes maxims such as “wasting resources is a mortal sin at Ikea.”
Between 2005 and 2010, Kamprad was estimated to be one of the 10 richest people in the world by FORBES, worth as much as $28 billion based largely on the value of Ikea. He ranked as high as number four twice on the World’s Billionaires rankings. In 2011 his net worth fell dramatically after his lawyers presented documents detailing how the ownership of Ikea had been irrevocably transferred to a foundation in tax haven Lichtenstein decades earlier. Interests in banking, real estate and insurance outside of Ikea still earned him a status as billionaire; those assets have since been passed on to three of his sons Peter, Mathias and Jonas, all of whom are billionaires.
Kamprad famously left Sweden to avoid punitive taxes in 1973. Still, throughout his life Kamprad, who remained chairman until 2013, showed little interest in the trappings of wealth. He reportedly preferred to fly economy and for more than two decades drove a Volvo until he was convinced it was no longer safe. In 2014 he moved back to the outskirts of Älmhult, the rural town close to where he grew up that is home to Ikea’s headquarters. He passed away only a 10-minute drive from the farm on which he was born.