Ingvar Kamprad in Haparanda, 2010.
30 March 1926 |
|Occupation||Founder of IKEA|
|Net worth||US$4.1 billion (June 2014)|
|Children||Peter, Jonas, Mathias, Annika Kihlbom|
Kamprad was born in Pjätteryd (now part of Älmhult Municipality), Sweden. He was raised on a farm called Elmtaryd (presently standardized Älmtaryd) near the small village of Agunnaryd in Ljungby Municipality in the province of Småland. His paternal grandfather was from Germany, but moved the family to Sweden.
Kamprad began to develop a business as a young boy, selling matches to neighbors from his bicycle. He found that he could buy matches in bulk very cheaply from Stockholm, sell them individually at a low price, and still make a good profit. From matches, he expanded to selling fish, Christmas tree decorations, seeds, and later ballpoint pens and pencils. When Kamprad was 17, his father gave him a cash reward for succeeding in his studies.
IKEA was founded in 1943 at Kamprad's uncle Ernst's kitchen table. In 1948, Kamprad diversified his portfolio, adding furniture. His business was mostly mail-order. 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 nearby village Agunnaryd.
In June 2013, Kamprad resigned from the board of Inter IKEA Holding SA and his youngest son Mathias Kamprad replaced Per Ludvigsson as the chairman of the holding company. Following his decision to step down, the 87-year-old founder 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.” Mathias and his two older brothers, who also have leadership roles at IKEA, work on the corporation's overall vision and long-term strategy.
According to Swedish business weekly Veckans Affärer, he is one of the wealthiest people in the world. This report is based on the assumption that Kamprad owns the entire company, an approach that both IKEA and the Kamprad family reject. Kamprad retains little direct ownership in the company, having transferred his interest to Stichting INGKA Foundation and INGKA Holding as part of a complex tax sheltering scheme that leaves his actual degree of control vague.
In March 2010, Forbes magazine estimated his fortune at US$23 billion, making him the eleventh richest person in the world. A year later, he fell to 162nd after his lawyers produced documents that prove that the foundation he established and heads in Liechtenstein owns IKEA, and its bylaws bar him and his family from benefiting from its funds. In October 2012, Kamprad was listed as the fifth wealthiest person in the world in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, with an estimated net worth of $42.6 billion. Forbes reported Kamprad's net worth as of February 2014 to be $4.2 billion.
Stichting INGKA Foundation
The Dutch-registered Stichting INGKA Foundation is named after Ingvar Kamprad (i.e., ING + KA) who owns INGKA Holding, the parent company for all IKEA stores. The charitable foundation was reported by the business newspaper The Economist in May 2006 to be technically the world's wealthiest charity – with an estimated value of at least US$36 billion in 2006 (larger than the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) – but its primary purpose is corporate tax-optimization and anti-takeover protection for IKEA. Kamprad is chairman of the foundation.
While generally a private person, Kamprad has published a few notable works. He first detailed the IKEA concept of frugality and enthusiasm in a manifesto entitled A Testament of a Furniture Dealer. Written in 1976, it has since been considered the fundamental ideology of the IKEA furniture retail concept. He also worked with Swedish journalist Bertil Torekull on the book Leading by Design: The IKEA Story. In the autobiographical account, he further describes his philosophies and the trials and triumphs of the founding of IKEA.
There are many stories about Kamprad that are a part of his heritage. When he talks to IKEA staff at different locations, his main theme is often management by example, and he uses himself as an example. He always travels economy class in planes, and if he goes by train, if possible, he will sit in second class. He never stays at expensive hotels, and his theme from the A Testament of a Furniture Dealer, simplicity, is totally integrated in all activities within IKEA.
In 1994, the personal letters of the Swedish fascist activist Per Engdahl were made public after his death, and it was revealed that Kamprad had joined Engdahl's pro-fascist New Swedish Movement (Nysvenska Rörelsen) in 1942, at the age of 16. Kamprad had raised funds for and recruited members to said group at least as late as September 1945. When Kamprad quit the group is unknown, but he remained a friend of Engdahl until the early 1950s.
Kamprad devotes two chapters to his time in Nysvenska Rörelsen in his book Leading by Design: The IKEA Story and, in a 1994 letter to IKEA employees, called his affiliation with the organization the "greatest mistake of his life". Kamprad has explained his teenage engagement in New Swedish Movement as being politically influenced by his father and grandmother in Sudet-Germany.
In 2011, journalist Elisabeth Åsbrink revealed that the Swedish security service created a file on Kamprad already in 1943 titled "Nazi" and that Kamprad in an interview in 2010 told her: "Per Engdahl is a great man, and I will maintain that as long as I live".
Kamprad lived in Epalinges, Switzerland, from 1976 to 2014. According to an interview with TSR, the French-language Swiss TV broadcaster, Kamprad drives a 1993 Volvo 240, flies only economy class, and encourages IKEA employees always to write on both sides of a piece of paper. He reportedly recycles tea bags and is known to pocket the salt and pepper packets at restaurants." In addition, Kamprad has been known to visit IKEA for a "cheap meal". He is known for purchasing Christmas paper and presents in post-Christmas sales. The firm he created is still known for the attention it gives to cost control, operational details and continuous product development, allowing it to lower its prices by an average of 2-3% over the decade to 2010, while continuing its global expansion. Kamprad explains his social philosophy in his "Testament of a Furniture Dealer": "It is not only for cost reasons that we avoid the luxury hotels. We don't need flashy cars, impressive titles, uniforms or other status symbols. We rely on our strength and our will!"  Kamprad owns a villa in Switzerland, a large country estate in Sweden and a vineyard in Provence, France. Additionally, Kamprad was known for driving a Porsche for several years.
Kamprad's second wife, Margaretha Kamprad-Stennert, died from an undisclosed disease in 2011. In June 2013, Ingvar Kamprad announced that he intended to move back to Småland in Sweden by the end of the year.[needs update]
- "Forbes Billionaires Index". Forbes. Retrieved April 2014.
- "He lives in a bungalow, flies easyJet and 'dries out' three times a year... the man who founded Ikea and is worth £15bn". Daily Mail (London). April 14, 2008.
- Ingvar Kamprad: IKEA Founder and One of the World's Richest People About.com Entrepreneurs
- Collins, Lauren (October 3, 2011). "House Perfect". The New Yorker. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
- Gina Chon (5 June 2013). "IKEA’s new chairman likes PAX wardrobes, and that’s about all we know". Quartz. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
- "Who's really the world's richest?" CNNMoney.com, April 6, 2004
- "IKEA: Flat-pack accounting". The Economist. May 11, 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-02.
- "Kamprad topic page at Forbes.com". Forbes. Retrieved March 2012.
- "Bloomberg Billionares Index". Bloomberg LP. Retrieved December 2, 2012.
- Kamprad, Ingvar and Torekull, Bertil Leading By Design: The IKEA Story Harper Collins, Sept.1, 1999. ISBN 978-0-06-662038-1
- Nilsson, Karl N. Alvar Svensk överklass och högerextremism under 1900-talet ISBN 91-86474-34-0 pp. 155-156
- Kamprad I, Torekull, B: "Historien om IKEA: Ingvar Kamprad berättar för Bertil Torekull", Wahlström & Widstrand, Stockholm 1998, ISBN 91-46-17065-0.
- "Kamprad djupt inblandad i nazistisk rörelse" (in Swedish). Sveriges Radio - Ekot. 23 August 2011. (Kamprad deeply involved in Nazi movement)
- "Cheap is good, says furniture magnate" NZZ Online, March 27, 2006
- Ikea-Kamprads lyxvillor, Expressen, August 22, 2004
- Folkhemsmöbleraren 80 år, Dagens Industri, March 29, 2006
- Lyxhusen som Kamprad vill tala tyst om, Dagens Nyheter, August 19, 2004
- "It started in a shed" The Age, July 15, 2004
- "Ikea founder mourns death of his wife". The Local. December 13, 2011.
- Mats Bax et al.:Ingvar Kamprad flyttar hem till Sverige igen (Swahili) Expressen, retrieved 27 June 2013
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- Kamprad topic page at Bloomberg.com
- Ingvar Kamprad: IKEA Founder and One of the World's Richest People (About.com Entrepreneurs)