Founder of Ikea furniture chain dead at 91

Founder of Swedish furniture firm Ikea Ingvar Kamprad dead aged 91

Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA and Ikano, passed away, at his home in Småland, Sweden, on January 27. IKEA, in a statement, said that Kamprad died at his home in Småland, Sweden.

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

Kamprad's life story is intimately linked to the company he founded at age 17 on the family farm.

Despite his successes, Karmprad's life was not without its controversies.

"We are mourning the loss of our founder and dear friend Ingvar", Jesper Brodin, chief executive officer of the Ikea Group, the largest retailer in the Ikea franchise system, said in a statement.

Although Kamprad had stepped away from Ikea's board in recent years, serving since 1988 as a senior adviser, he was widely regarded as the company's leading architect and a still-powerful force behind the scenes.

The European Commission announced past year that it had launched an investigation into Ikea 's tax deals in the Netherlands.

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The group insists that it complies fully with national and worldwide tax regulations. The innovator had the brainwave to create flat-pack furniture when he watched one of his staff remove the legs off a table to fit it in a customer's auto. He eschewed formal business suits, dressed in well-worn clothes and in later years drove an old Volvo.

The business now has around 400 stores, many of them cavernous warehouses in out-of-town malls and roughly 1 billion people visited them previous year.

While Sweden was neutral during the war, its Nazi party remained active after the war. It wasn't until 1948 that Ikea began selling furniture. Kamprad disavowed his participation with the groups, describing it in a letter to Ikea employees as a youthful mistake and "a part of my life which I bitterly regret".

While he eventually returned to Sweden, Kamprad fled his homeland's high-tax structure for Denmark in 1973 and later moved to Switzerland in search of even lower taxes.

Ikea's corporate culture mirrors Kamprad's celebration of frugality. Kamprad was known to lead a frugal life and drive a simple Volvo auto well into his later years.

"If you look at me now, I don't think I'm wearing anything that wasn't bought at a flea market", he said. "It means that I want to set a good example", he told Swedish channel TV4 in 2016.


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