7 things to know about Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA

29th January 2018

Ingvar Kamprad, who founded IKEA at the age of 17, died on Sunday at his home in Småland, aged 91.

1. He was the second-richest man in Europe

At the time of his death, Mr Kamprad was the second richest man in Europe, beaten only by Amancio Ortega, founder of the Inditex fashion group.

2. He was dyslexic

Mr Kamprad used some money his father had given him as a gift for performing well at school despite his dyslexia to found the company in his teens. He started out by selling replicas of his uncle Ernst's kitchen table.

3. IKEA is actually an acronym

The acronym IKEA is made up of the initials of his name (Ingvar Kamprad) plus those of Elmtaryd, the family farm where he was born, and the village of Agunnaryd where he was raised.

4. His greatest inventions came through observation

Mr Kamprad is reported to have come up with the idea of flat-pack furniture after watching an employee remove the legs from a table in order to fit it into a customer's car.

5. He was very frugal

Despite being worth billions, Mr Kamprad reportedly drove an old Volvo, travelled in economy class, and bought his clothes at flea markets. He first detailed his philosophies of frugality and simplicity in a manifesto called A Testament of a Furniture Dealer in 1976.

6. He resigned from the board of IKEA’s holding company when he was 87

Following his decision to step down in 2013, he explained, "I see this as a good time for me to leave the board of Inter IKEA Group. By that we are also taking another step in the generation shift that has been ongoing for some years." The chairman of the company is now his youngest son, Mathias Kamprad, while his two other sons, who have leadership roles at IKEA, work on the corporation's overall vision and long-term strategy.

7. He apologised for his past links to fascist groups

Mr Kamprad had faced scrutiny over his past links to Nazi groups. In a book published in 1988, he admitted that he was a close friend of the Swedish fascist activist Per Engdahl, and a member of his New Swedish Movement between 1942 and 1945. He said that his involvement was youthful "stupidity" and the "greatest mistake" of his life.


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