Kamprad, who was the sole founder of the Ikea furniture chain back in the ‘40s, has announced he is to retire and be replaced by his son Mathias. The announcement comes barely seven months after he claimed he was ‘too busy to die’ and would not be retiring any time soon.
But it seems the frailties of old age are taking their toll on the 87-year-old, who wants to remain involved in the company in a less executive role. He said: ‘I will continue to share ideas and views. And I will continue to spend time in the stores and in the factories to work with people and help achieve constant improvement. Our journey has just started.’
Kamprad’s idea to remove the legs from furniture before delivering it revolutionised the global furniture industry, and spawned the flat pack obsession that most countries have today. But the company has been accused of being strange and cultish behind closed doors: back in 2009 a book called 'The Truth About Ikea' alleged that the corporate culture is racist. Not to mention that Kamprad himself had to express regret over pro-Nazi political views he had held after the war, back in the mid-nineties.
The company is seemingly in rude health, too: profits have risen rapidly in recent years, last year totalling £2.7bn. Despite the astronomic figures that thereby reach the Kamprad bank account, Ingvar is pretty thrifty. He reportedly still drives an old Volvo 240GL that he bought 20 years ago and always flies economy class.