Ingvar Kamprad

Ingvar Kamprad - IKEA Founder

Ingvar Feodor Kamprad, who hails from Sweden, is a business magnate and founder of IKEA – the world’s biggest retail company specializing in furniture. According to Bloomberg Billionaires Index, he is the world’s fifth most moneyed person and he has a net worth of approximately US $42.6 billion as of March 2012. Currently, he resigned from the board of Inter IKEA Holding SA and his youngest son took over as the chairman of the company.

Quick Facts

Net Worth: US $42.6 Billion

Source: IKEA, Inter IKEA Holding SA and Inter IKEA Group of Companies

Born: March 30, 1926 

Nationality: Swedish

ingvar kamprad

Kamprad’s Declining Net Worth 

Ingvar Feodor Kamprad is one of the wealthiest people in the world. In 2007, Kamprad was ranked as the fourth world’s most moneyed person with a net worth of approximately of US $33 billion but eventually dropped his ranking the following years after his net worth declined substantially.

However, as of October 2012, he was listed as the fifth wealthiest man with a net worth of approximately of US $42.6 billion according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His net worth declined once more to a significant amount of US $3.3 billion due to him passing most of his economic stake in IKEA to entities Kamprad states as “beyond his economic control as well as benefit”. While his network in IKEA dropped significantly, his network of assets in his holding company as well as in his charities have continued to soar high.

ikea founder

IKEA, one of the largest furniture companies in the world

Stitching INGKA Foundation and INGKA Holding

There have been many doubts regarding the ownership of IKEA. Some speculates that it is owned solely by Ingvar Kamprad and his family while some believes that the company is owned by several stakeholders. Nevertheless, Ingvar Kamprad reveals that he retains little ownership in the company and that he has transferred all of his interests to the Stitching INGKA Foundation as well as the INGKA Holding Company which serves as the parent of all IKEA stores.

The Stitching INGKA Foundation is a Dutch-registered charity which is considered as the world’s richest charity that is valued at US $36 billion in 2006 as published by the business newspaper The Economist. It has surpassed the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As the chairman of the foundation, the Stitching INGKA Foundation is aimed to help less fortunate people all over the world but it was also established in order to optimize corporate taxation as well as to protect IKEA from any unnecessary takeovers.

ingvar kamprad

IKEA, the brainchild of Ingvar Kamprad, focuses on simplicity

Early Life

Born in Pjätteryd in Sweden, Ingvar Feodor Kamprad was raised in a farming community named Elmtaryd (present-day Almtaryd) near the village of Agunnaryd. As a young boy, he was already business minded as he sold matches to his neighbors from his bicycle. Later on, he sold fish, Christmas decors, pencils and pens throughout his teenage years.

It was in 1943 when he started IKEA selling his uncle’s kitchen tables. The name IKEA was obtained from the initials of his name (Ingvar Kamprad), the first letter of Elmtaryd and the village where he came from (Agunnaryd).  In 1948, he began to add more furniture to his portfolio and made it available through mail order. 

Fascist Involvements

In 1994, Ingvar Kamprad faced a scandal about his involvements with Per Engdahl – a Swedish fascist activist. The personal letters of Per Engdahl were divulged to the public following his death and revealed that Ingvar Kamprad raised funds as well as helped recruited members in 1945.  Although this scandal created a lot of clamor in Sweden, Kamprad did not deny the allegations but made it known that he already quit the group a long time ago and considered it as the greatest mistake in his life.

Personal Life

Kamprad is known for his simplicity as well as frugality. He flies economy class and he recycles tea bags from restaurants. His simplicity emanates to the design of his furniture and this is the reason why the IKEA brand is known worldwide. Currently, he lives in Epalinges in Switzerland but he owns several properties in France and Sweden.

Interesting Facts about Ingvar Feodor Kamprad

  • Ingvar Kamprad started business at a very young age by buying matches in bulk and selling them to neighbors at a fair price.
  • He owns 200 IKEA stores all over 41 different countries with expansions still under way.
  • The name IKEA has a special meaning to the founder. The first two letters are the acronym of his name, IK. And EA stands for Elmtaryd and Agunnary, the farm and town he grew up in—respectively.
  • He suffers from dyslexia, which is a difficulty in reading fluently with correct comprehension even if the person has normal intelligence.
  • IKEA commercials were the first to include a transgender person and a gay relationship.

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