The founder of Ikea, one of the most profitable businesses in the world has passed away. Ingvar Kamprad died in his home in Sweden at the age of 91. He was only 17-years-old when he founded and started the company Ikea in 1943.
Reports from CNN says that once he created the company at 17 years old, Kamprad worked to expand and grow the company over the following decades to make it the popular brand that it is today. Ikea has 355 stores in 29 different countries as of today. The idea of Ikea was to stock the stores with furniture, kitchen appliances, home accessories, and more. Since his business became so huge and popular, Kamrad was reported to be one the world’s most wealthiest people, with an ranking of 8 on the Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index, with an estimated net worth of $58.7 billion.
In 2017, Ikea financially accumulated a global revenue of 36.3 billion euros, totaling about $45 billion dollars, quite impressive. Everyone knew Kamprad as a caring and compassionate businessman, always willing to provide his workers with beneficial conditions and benefits. CNN reports that the company that Kamprad led until 1986 was regularly featured on the list of best employers because it offered such incredible perks and attractive working conditions to employees.
Kamprad developed a love for retail at an early age. Apparently, his involvement in the industry began at a very early age when he began selling matches in his neighborhood at the young age of five. Then, once he got a bit older, he began to use his bicycle to venture further to search for newer customers. He then began selling seed, greeting cards, and Christmas decorations. Eventually, he would branch out to pencils and ballpoint pens.
What CNN calls the “darker” side to his career came in the mid-twentieth century when, for a brief period of time, Kamprad flirted with fascism and attended Nazi groups led by Swedish right-wing activists immediately after the beginning of the Second World War.
In 1994, the businessman issued a public apology and claimed that he profoundly regrets that he attended those meeting. What convinced him to attend those meetings, he said, was the vehement anti-communism of those putting them together. This anti-communism, he implied, he doesn’t at all regret holding dear to him. But he did regret the authoritarian meetings that his anti-communism led him into.
The company also had several other controversies. In 2012, for instance, they apologized for using forced labor in East Germany during the 1980s. And last that year, the European Commission launched an investigation into Ikea’s tax dealings in the Netherlands, according to BBC News.
Kamprad will be very missed by his family and friends. He was renowned for his frugality, reportedly driving a very simple car and always traveling by economy class. In an interview with Swedish television, the businessman remarked that it is in his nature to “be thrifty.” He also mentioned that he doesn’t wear anything that isn’t “bought at a flea market.”
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