Founder of IKEA has died

IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad, 91, credited for turning a small-scale mail order business into world's leading furniture company, died on Sunday. "Ingvar Kamprad will be missed and fondly remembered". "To never give up, always try to become better and lead by example", Torbjorn Loof, CEO and president of Inter Ikea Group, said in a statement published on the company's website. The company paid tribute to their founder on Twitter, calling him "one of the greatest entrepreneurs of the 20th century".

The company has become a leading cultural ambassador for Sweden, taking its name from Kamprad's initials and the first letters of the farm (Elmtaryd) and village (Agunnaryd) where he was raised.

The business magnate was born in Pjatteryd in Smaland province, southern Sweden.

At the time, he was the eleventh richest person in the world. He drove a modest Volvo and dressed unassumingly. In a book he wrote about IKEA's history, he wrote that he often perused local vegetable markets just before they rolled up shop for the night, always on the hunt for a better deal.

Kamprad was 91, and his peaceful death came after a short illness. "He realized that he could buy matches wholesale and very low price in Stockholm and n sell m retail at low prices but getting a good profit", says chain in biography of its founder.

He soon diversified his portfolio, adding seeds, Christmas tree decorations, pencils and ball-point pens to his sales list.

The man behind the world-renowned furniture retailer Ikea has died.

In 1994, Swedish newspaper Expressen reported that Kamprad had contacts with Swedish fascist leader Per Engdahl in the 1940s and '50s. His paternal grandparents emigrated to Sweden in the 1890s. "Can one ever get forgiveness for such stupidity?" In 2015, the company had 328 department stores globally. But Kamprad's relationship with his homeland was sometimes complicated.

The billionaire had a reputation for frugality and moved to Switzerland in the late 1970s to avoid paying high Swedish taxes. He chose to return home only after his wife Margaretha died in 2011.

In 2004 he was briefly reported to be the richest man in the world, having notionally overtaken Bill Gates of Microsoft in the USA, thanks in part to a slide of the dollar against the Swedish kronor. But the heady valuations assumed his assets were Ikea's, and in the last several decades the company has restructured so that its assets are owned by a foundation created by Kamprad.

Mr Kamprad donated more than £14 million to philanthropic causes in 2012 alone.

His sons - Peter, Jonas and Mathias - still sit on the boards of various IKEA entities, but the family is no longer at the helm.

  • Eleanor Harrison