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Page 3 Profile: Ingvar Kamprad, Ikea founder

Who?

The founder of Ikea who yesterday stepped down from the board of the Swedish furniture giant, less than a year after insisting he was “too busy to die” and had no plans to retire. The 87-year-old  entrepreneur, who created the flat-pack furniture market in the 1940s, resigned from his position as chairman of Inter Ikea Group to make way for his youngest son, Mathias.

In what Ikea says is a “generational shift”, Mr Kamprad will retire from the home-assembly business 70 years after he began by selling matches and pencils from home. 

“I see this as a good time for me to leave the board. This does not however mean that I will stop working. My passion and engagement for the many people, the Ikea concept, simplicity and cost consciousness is as strong as ever,” he said. The move comes just seven months after he dismissed reports in the Swedish media that he was preparing to leave the company

He must be retiring in some comfort?

Mr Kamprad has come a long way since he stumbled across the potential for flat-pack furniture after discovering that delivery was easier if table legs were attached at the other end. But despite Bloomberg estimates that he is worth £34.6bn, the Swede is renowned for being thrifty. Apparently he drives a 1993 Volvo 240, flies economy class and recycles tea bags.

He sounds oddly militaristic?

A tendency that has caused controversy in the past. Mr Kamprad has faced harsh criticism for his ties to the Nazi youth movement during and after the Second World War. After his membership of a neo-Swedish fascist group was revealed in 1994 in the personal letters of Nazi-activist Per Enghadal, he sent a letter of apology to Ikea’s 25,000 employees.

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