Wealthiest Swiss man steps aside at Ikea

Wealthiest Swiss man steps aside at Ikea
Ingvar Kamprad. Photo: Scanpix
Switzerland’s wealthiest man, Ingvar Kamprad, 87, is leaving the board of the furniture brand Ikea that he founded as a 17-year-old in Sweden to make way for one of his sons.

Kamprad, a resident of Epalinges, near Lausanne, said his decision to step aside is a step in the “generation shift that has been ongoing for some years”.

His youngest son, Mathias Kamprad, 43, will replace 70-year-old Per Ludvigsson as chairman of the board of Inter Ikea, the holding company that manages the Ikea brand, retailing concept and franchising operations.

“I see this as a good time to leave the board of Inter Ikea Group,” Ingvar Kamprad said in a statement.

He said his son is “well-prepared” for the new assignment.

The elder Kamprad said that despite his decision to leave the board, he would remain engaged with the company he started in 1943.

He remains a senior adviser to the board of the foundation of Ikea Group, which owns the majority of the company’s retail furniture and furnishings stores.

Swiss magazine Bilan last year estimated Kamprad’s wealth at 39 billion francs ($42 billion), although he has developed a reputation for being thrifty, living in a modest bungalow and flying economy class.

He moved to Switzerland in the 1970s.

His son Mathias grew up in Denmark and Switzerland, where he managed an Ikea store for four years.

He has spent most of his career with Ikea, although he worked for a year with Habitat, the furniture retailer, in the UK.

With stores in 44 countries, Ikea recorded a profit of 3.2 billion euros in 2012 (year ending August 31st) on sales of 27 billion euros. 

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