Swedish entrepreneur Ingvar Kamprad died Sunday in his residence at the age of 91, the Ikea group announced on their Twitter account.
The controversial millionaire founded the furniture giant at the age of 17 in the Småland region of southern Sweden.
The name “Ikea” comes from the initials of Mr. Kamprad (IK) and the first letter of the family farm, Elmtaryd, and the first letter of the parish of Agunnaryd.
“He was a unique entrepreneur who was very important to the Swedish economy,” Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven told TT.
The man began his entrepreneurial adventure by selling boxes of matches he bought in large quantities in Stockholm. He then used milk delivery trucks to deliver various products that people could order using a catalog.
As early as 1950, he started to sell low-end furniture produced by a factory in his native region and, in view of the importance of demand, decided to focus on the furniture market and launch the concept now. famous furniture ready to assemble.
The down-to-earth personality and simplicity in which he seemed to live marked the public image of Ingvar Kamprad.
In an inventory of his real estate submitted to the Swedish tax authorities in 2013, it was confirmed that the businessman and his wife lived in a certain comfort, but not in an excessive opulence.
The couple owned two cars, a 2008 Skoda and a 1993 Volvo, and Kamprad’s fortune was estimated at 750 million kroner (about 117 million Canadian dollars), well below the estimates made by magazines like Forbes.
The businessman has also sowed controversy on a few occasions.
In 1994, a Swedish newspaper reported that Mr Kamprad had sympathies for Nazism in the early years of the Second World War. He also had links with the leader of the fascist movement in Sweden.
He recognized “a mistake of youth” in a book published in 1998, saying he was influenced by the political views of his German-born grandmother.
Ingvar Kamprad also had trouble with the Swedish tax system, where tax rates are among the highest in the world, even deciding to live in Switzerland from 1977 to 2014.
For some years, he had retired from the board of directors of the company, leaving his place to his three sons.