Ikea founder leaves Switzerland for Sweden

Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of Ikea, has moved back home to Sweden from Switzerland after four decades abroad. The elderly Swede plans to spend his days with family, but also to keep working.

Ikea founder leaves Switzerland for Sweden
Ingvar Kamprad. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Kamprad, 87, left Sweden in 1973 for Denmark before moving three years later to Switzerland, where he lived near Lausanne.

Now, the brains behind the furniture mammoth has come home, reported the Smålandsposten newspaper, a move he has planned since at least mid-last year when he announced his intentions and assured that they were not tax-related.

“Ingvar wants to be closer to his family and friends in Älmhult,” the family's spokesman Per Heggenes told the paper on Thursday.

“Above all, he has a special interest in Ikea's product development, work that is carried out in Älmhult.”

Heggenes added that since Kamprad's wife died in 2011, there was less and less reason for him to stay in Switzerland.

Heart and back problems for the 87-year-old prevented an earlier move, Heggenes told the paper.

Retirement is nowhere in sight for Kamprad, with the Swede planning to carry on as long as there is work to do.

“He'll always do it,” Heggenes told the paper.

“I'm convinced about that.”

Kamprad was long ranked among the richest people in the world, with Forbes reporting that he was the 11th richest in 2010.

This year, he ranked 367th with an estimated fortune of $4.1 billion.

Kamprad announced in June that he was stepping down as chairman and handing over the reins to his son Matthias.

A little known fact about Ikea and Kamprad's hometown is that the word Ikea is an acronym for Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd, the later two words referring to the farm on which Kamprad was raised and the name of his hometown in southern Sweden.  

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