A Sad Day for Design: Ikea Founder Dies at 91
January 29, 2018
The IKEA founder passed away on January 28, 2018. Ingvar Kamprad was the Swedish entrepreneur who started the world’s most loved furniture brand at 17 years old back in 1943. In an official statement from IKEA, Kamprad died “Surrounded by his loved ones… following a short illness.”
“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”, says Torbjörn Lööf CEO and President of Inter IKEA Group.
At some point, the IKEA Founder was the richest man in the world with 380+ stores in 29 countries, with a total retail sales estimated to be $40.2 billion.
Success aside, it was known that Kamaprad was pro-fascist movement in 1942 and helped the Nazis to some extent. However, he called it the “greatest mistake” of his life and cites it as a part of his life which he “bitterly regrets”. The founder even begged employees to forgive him. Kampard also increased IKEA’s charitable contributions as a form of contrition for a decision based on “youthful stupidity”.
At 1988, Kamprad did not have a direct role with IKEA but stayed on as a senior adviser to keep the energy of IKEA alive to other co-workers. He would even roam stores around the world unannounced and anonymously as a mystery shopper to check on the stores and his employees.
“The question is, how do you find out what they want, how best to serve them? My answer is to stay close to ordinary people, because at heart I am one of them.” Ingvar Kamprad
Despite being hailed as the most iconic and successful entrepreneurs of Sweden, Kamprad was simple and down to earth. While one might think that the founder would have lived in a grand mansion with luxury cars lined up in the garage and a private jet or two in there, Kamprad was quite the minimalist. He lived in a humble home in Switzerland and flew economy class, the rest of the company executives did too. On business trips, he would stay in budget hotels and was known to eat in the IKEA Cafe often. Yes, he was a fan of those famous meatballs too.