Founder of Ikea, Ingvar Kamprad, Dies at 91

Founder of Ikea, Ingvar Kamprad, Dies at 91

Founder of Ikea, Ingvar Kamprad, who had a childhood business of pencil selling and seeds from his bicycle in Sweden slowly grew into the Ikea furniture chain. He has died today at the age of 91.

“One of the greatest entrepreneurs of the 20th century, Ingvar Kamprad, has peacefully passed away at his home in Smaland, Sweden, on Jan. 27,” Ikea said in an emailed statement on Sunday. The founder of Ikea, as well as a bank for its customers, Ikano, “was “surrounded by his loved ones,” and died “following a short illness.”

“We are mourning the loss of our founder and dear friend Ingvar,” Jesper Brodin, chief executive officer of the Ikea Group, the largest retailer in the Ikea franchise system, said in a statement. “Ingvar Kamprad‘s legacy will be admired for many years to come and his vision –- to create a better everyday life for the many people -– will continue to guide and inspire us.”

Founder of Ikea, Ingvar Kamprad, Dies at 91

Frugal Billionaire

Ingvar Kamprad will be remembered for driving an old Volvo, recycling tea bags and taking little packets of salt and pepper home from restaurant visits. He was identified as “Uncle Scrooge” and “The Miser” in the Swiss village of Epalinges, near Lausanne, where he shifted in the 1970s before coming back to Sweden a few years ago. He also stopped wearing suits and ties and traveled coach when flying.

The company’s corporate culture mirrors Kamprad’s celebration of management. Executives of Ikea travel on low-cost airlines and hotel in budget hotels.

The company employees comprehend a basic pamphlet written by Kamprad in 1976, “The Testament of a Furniture Dealer,” which states that “wasting resources is a mortal sin,” and stipulates Ikea’s “duty to expand.”

Brodin, during his career at Ikea, worked for 10 years as an assistant to Ingvar Kamprad, stated in a phonetic interview on the weekend that the billionaire “started as a 17-year-old with two empty pockets, but a ton of entrepreneurship. He used to tell me that he never knew it would become so big.”

Founder of Ikea, Ingvar Kamprad, Dies at 91

Ingvar Kamprad’s death “will affect us all and we’ll take time to be sad and reflect on what Ingvar achieved,” he said.

Ikea come up with its first store in Almhult, Sweden, in 1958.

“Since 1988 Ingvar Kamprad did not have an operational role within Ikea but he continued to contribute to the business in the role of senior advisor, sharing his knowledge and energy with the Ikea co-workers,” the company stated to the media on Sunday.