Ingvar Kamprad, Founder of Ikea and Creator of a Global Empire, Dies during 91

It was not accurately so, as reporters found. His home was a villa unaware Lake Geneva, and he had an estate in Sweden and vineyards in Provence. He gathering a Porsche as good as a Volvo. His cut-rate flights, hotels and dishes were taken in partial as an mould to his executives, who were approaching to follow suit, to courtesy practice by Ikea as a life’s joining — and to write on both sides of a square of paper.

Ikea was indeed operated by a free trust in a Netherlands, and a formidable array of holding companies, all tranquil by a Kamprad family to equivocate any possibility that Ikea competence be taken open or damaged up. It also supposing taxation shelters and a structure for preserving a association in tact after Mr. Kamprad’s death.

He sought to control his work force, too. In 1976, he wrote a manifesto, “The Testament of a Furniture Dealer,” with biblical-style commandments inventory morality as a trait and rubbish as a sin. Employees were approaching to catch “the Ikea spirit,” to be humble, athletic and courteous, not only associating about Ikea’s products yet eager about a corporate beliefs — beliefs to work and live by.

Mr. Kamprad was, like his engineer wares, a complicated Everyman. He cultivated a provincial openness: extraordinary about everything, yet a face mislaid in a crowd. He was thin, bespectacled and baldish, with wisps of graying hair intoxicated down a sides, jowls and a forked chin. His blue denim shirts and khaki pants competence have been a gardener’s, yet there was tough individuality in a dim eyes and dense lips.

While he lived mostly in seclusion, he trafficked to Ikea stores around a world, infrequently strolling in anonymously and doubt employees as if he were a customer, and business as if he were a concerned employee. He spoke during Ikea house meetings and spasmodic lectured during universities. He frequency gave interviews, yet done no tip of his alcoholism, observant he tranquil it by drying out 3 times a year.

To millions of Ikea business and a ubiquitous public, he was mostly different over a certified chronicle of his life and Ikea’s success — his “Leading by Design: The Ikea Story” (1999), created with Bertil Torekull. Its themes had been sounded for decades in Ikea broadside and reiterated in profiles of Mr. Kamprad and a company.

Ikea had been achieved, he said, by frugality: building stores on reduction dear land outward cities; shopping materials during a discount; minimizing sales staff to let business emporium yet pressure; putting no finishes on secret seat surfaces, and wrapping equipment in prosaic boxes to be carried divided by business for home public (instructions provided).


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In 1994, a Stockholm journal Expressen unclosed Mr. Kamprad’s name in a repository of Per Engdahl, a Swedish nazi who had recently died. They showed Mr. Kamprad had assimilated Mr. Engdahl’s nazi transformation in 1942, and had attended meetings, lifted supports and recruited members. Even after a war’s finish in 1945, he remained tighten to a leader. In a 1950 minute to Mr. Engdahl, Mr. Kamprad pronounced he was unapproachable of his involvement.

Mr. Kamprad responded humbly to a disclosures. In a summary to his employees, he pronounced his nazi activities were “a partial of my life that we bitterly regret,” and “the many foolish mistake of my life.” He pronounced he had been shabby by his German grandmother, who fled a Sudetenland before World War II, and that he had been drawn to Mr. Engdahl’s prophesy of “a non-Communist, revolutionary Europe.”

For Swedes, a revelations reawakened disturbing memories of World War II. While Sweden was strictly neutral, German infantry had trafficked opposite a nation from assigned Norway, and an different series of Swedes were Nazi sympathizers. After a disclosures, Jewish groups called for a protest of Ikea, yet a business suffered little, if during all, and Mr. Kamprad shortly returned to themes of frugality.

“Well, I’m famous as a really frugal person, and a stores are meant for people like me,” he told The New York Times in 1997 when asked about his contributions to a enlightenment of Ikea. “I don’t fly initial category on a airplanes, and a stores’ executives don’t either.”

Ingvar Feodor Kamprad was innate in Pjatteryd, Sweden, on Mar 30, 1926. He attended internal schools and complicated business in Goteborg. He founded Ikea in 1943, regulating income his father gave him for chores to register his mail-order business.

In 1950, he married Kerstin Wadling. They had a daughter, Annika, and divorced in 1960. In 1963, he married Margaretha Sennert. They had 3 sons, Peter, Jonas and Mathias. His second mother died in 2011.

In 1953, he non-stop a salon in Almhult; in 1958, it became a initial Ikea store. In a 1960s, Ikeas non-stop in Stockholm, elsewhere in Sweden, as good as Denmark and Norway. Alarmed by a company’s flourishing sales, a competitors orderly a protest by Ikea’s suppliers, yet it backfired: Mr. Kamprad went to Poland for materials and manufacturing, that cut costs further.

In a 1970s, Ikeas non-stop in Switzerland and Canada. In 1985, a initial Ikea in a United States non-stop nearby Philadelphia. In a 1990s, Ikea became renouned opposite Eastern Europe, and by 2000, there were Ikeas in Russia and China. The association owned a immeasurable infancy of a stores, yet about 10 percent were authorization operations.

In 1976, Mr. Kamprad changed to Switzerland. In 1982, he eliminated control to a Dutch foundation, and in 2013 he stepped down from a house of Inter Ikea Group, a pivotal association within a business, and named his youngest son, Mathias, as a chairman. His other dual sons also hold pivotal positions. Mr. Kamprad announced his retirement in 1986, yet continued roving to his stores and creation vital decisions.


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“I see my charge as portion a infancy of people,” he told Forbes in 2000. “The doubt is, how do we find out what they want, how best to offer them? My answer is to stay tighten to typical people, since during heart we am one of them.”

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