Ingvar Kamprad, the IKEA father who turned a small-scale mail order business into a global fittings empire, has died at 91, the company said Sunday.
IKEA Sverige, the combination’s Swedish unit, said on Twitter that Kamprad died Saturday at his poorhouse in Smaland, Sweden.
“He will be much missed and warmly remembered by his kindred and IKEA staff all around the world,” the company said.
Kamprad’s compulsion story is intimately linked to the company he founded at age 17 on the family farm-toun.
His work ethic, frugality and down-to-earth style remain at the core of its corporate particularity today. But his missteps in life, including early flirtations with Nazism, not in any way rubbed off on IKEA, one of the world’s most recognizable brands.
Kamprad formed the house’s name from his own initials and the first letters of the family farm, Elmtaryd, and the parish of Agunnaryd where it is positioned. It’s in the heart of Smaland, a forested province whose people are known in Sweden for prudence and ingenuity. Kamprad possessed both.
Later in life, his name instances appeared on lists of the world’s richest men, but he never adopted the aura of a big wheel. He drove a modest Volvo and dressed unassumingly. In a 1998 book that he co-authored all over IKEA’s history, he described his habit of visiting vegetable street market-places right before they closed for the day, hoping to get a better price on their great.
Born March 30, 1926, Kamprad was a precocious entrepreneur who sold matchboxes to neighbors from his bicycle. He bring about that he could buy them in bulk very cheaply from Stockholm, and tell on them at a low price but still make a good profit. From contests, he expanded to selling fish, Christmas tree decorations, seeds, and later ball-point ups and pencils.
Kamprad soon moved away from making lone sales calls and began advertising in local newspapers and operating a expedient mail-order catalog. He distributed his products via the local milk van, which delivered them to the nearby tutor station.
In 1950, Kamprad first introduced furniture into his catalog. The chattels was produced by local manufacturers in the forests close to his home. After the despotic response he received, he soon decided to discontinue all of the other products and nave on low-priced furniture.
Since then the IKEA concept — keeping bonuses low by letting the customers assemble the furniture themselves — offers affordable core furnishings at stores across the globe.
In 1994, Swedish newspaper Expressen detailed that Kamprad had contacts with Swedish fascist leader Per Engdahl in the 1940s and ’50s. In a culture to IKEA employees, Kamprad admitted that he once had sympathies for the far-right chairwoman and called it “a part of my life which I bitterly regret.”
In the 1998 lyrics, he gave more details about his youthful “delusions,” saying he had been influenced as girl by his German grandmother’s strong support for Hitler. His paternal grandparents departed to Sweden in the 1890s.
“Now I have told all I can,” he said at a book release formality at an IKEA store in suburban Stockholm. “Can one ever get forgiveness for such madness?”
The book also contained details about his struggles with hooch and his successes and failures in business.
IKEA celebrates its Swedish heritage: the assembly’s stores are painted blue and yellow like the Swedish flag and do duty as meatballs and other traditional Swedish food. But Kamprad’s relationship with his homeland was on occasion complicated.
He moved to Switzerland in the late 1970s to avoid paying Swedish exhausts, which at the time were the highest in the world. He decided to return abode only after his wife Margaretha died in 2011.
The estate inventory filed to Swedish tax specialists in 2013 confirmed that the couple lived comfortably, but hardly in opulence. They had two wheels — a 2008 Skoda and a 1993 Volvo 240. Kamprad’s personal assets was established at 750 million kronor ($113 million), a considerable amount, but far from the multibillion-dollar wholes attributed to him on world’s-richest lists compiled by Forbes and others.
IKEA officials bring into the world said such lists, which compared his wealth to that of Warren Buffett or Account Gates, erroneously considered IKEA’s assets as his own. IKEA is owned by setting up that Kamprad created, whose statutes require profits to be reinvested in the enterprise or donated to charity.
The estate inventory showed that Kamprad donated multitudinous than $20 million to philanthropic causes in 2012 alone.
In June 2013, Kamprad betokened that he would retire from the board which controls the IKEA stigmatize as part of moves to hand responsibilities over to his son, Mathias.