IKEA founder, Ingvar Kamprad has passed away at the age of 91. According to Reuters, the Swedish billionaire’s legacy is turning a business he launched as a teenager into one of the world’s best known furniture brands in the world.
The company issued a statement about the founder’s passing. “One of the greatest entrepreneurs of the 20th century, Ingvar Kamprad, has peacefully passed away, at his home in Smaland, Sweden, on the 27th of January.”
Kamprad started the business in 1943, at the age of 17, but the big break came in 1956 when the company began to produce flat-pack furniture. By watching an employee take the legs off a table to fit into their car, he realized that there was a way that it could be developed to save money on transport, storage and space. The costs of assembly would also be eliminated by allowing consumers to build their own furniture. Research would later determine there was an “IKEA effect”, whereby customers derived more satisfaction and valued self-made products.
Kamprad was born on March 30, 1926, in southern Sweden. His foray into business began at the early age of five, when he started selling matches to neighbors and eventually diversified his inventory to include seeds, Christmas tree decorations and pens.
The company further stated that Kamprad did not have an operational role within IKEA, since 1988. However he continued to contribute to the business in the role of senior advisor and shared his knowledge and energy.
“We are deeply saddened by Ingvar’s passing. We will remember his dedication and commitment to always side with the many people. To never give up, always try to become better and lead by example”, said Torbjörn Lööf CEO and President of Inter IKEA Group.
Today, IKEA has about 400 stores and approximately 1 billion people visited them last year.