Published: 2018-01-28 16:41
Last Updated: 2018-01-28 17:10
The Founder of the Swedish IKEA furniture chain, Ingvar Kamprad, died on Sunday at the age of 91.
IKEA announced in a statement that Kamprad died at his home, in Småland, and he was “one of the greatest entrepreneurs in the 20th century,”.
The billionaire was born in 1926 in Småland. He created the giant furniture chain at the age of 17 selling pencils and postcards in rural southern Sweden, before he started designing furniture to create his business empire that achieves annual sales of €38bn and 194,000 workers.
Kamprad "peacefully passed away at his home", IKEA said in their statement. "He worked until the very end of his life, staying true to his own motto that most things remain to be done.”
“When I joined as his assistant I thought, ‘Is the legend true?’ A hard-working entrepreneur, siding with the many people, always travelling economy class. It was true. For him, it was a decision he took early on — that he had to lead with a good example,” Jesper Brodin, his former assistant and current chief executive of Ikea Group said.
“He is one of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time. He came up with so many innovations and inventions that enable the many people to have a better home,” Torbjorn Loof, chief executive of Inter Ikea, told the Financial Times.
He added that Kamprad had planned how to give Ikea “eternal life” since the 1980s, creating a franchise system where Ikea Group is the retailer and pays 3% of annual revenues to Inter Ikea each year.
He stepped down from his company’s board in 2013, and Forbes listed him in 2015 as one of the ten richest people in the world, worth more than 40 billion dollars.
IKEA was named after his initials, Ingvar Kamprad, Elmtaryd (the farm where he grew up) and Agunnaryd (his hometown in Småland, southern Sweden).
The company is known for its modernist designs for various types of appliances and furniture, and its interior design work is often associated with an eco-friendly simplicity.
As of November 2017, IKEA owns and operates 411 stores in 49 countries.