Ingvar Feodor Kamprad (30 March 1926) is among the most famous Swedish in world history – he is, after all, the founder of IKEA. He is one of the world’s richest persons although his estimated net worth is up for the jury. In June 2015, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index estimates his net worth at $43.2 million while Forbes estimates it at $3.5 billion.
Regardless of his actual net worth, Kamprad is acknowledged as the brains behind the uber-success of IKEA, the world’s largest furniture retailer. IKEA, a multinational group of companies with headquarters in Leiden in the Netherlands, designs, manufactures and sells ready-to-assemble furniture including chairs, desks and beds. The company is known for the eco-friendly, cost-friendly, and easy-to-assemble products as well as for its continuous product development and attention to operational details.
IKEA owns and operates over 370 stores across 47 countries. Its official website contains a staggering 12,000 products, the closest representation of its entire range. It is also considered as among the world’s largest users of wood with a 1% consumption of the world’s commercial product wood use.
Kamprad founded IKEA in 1943 when he was just 17 years old with his initial capital from the cash reward his father gave him for his successful studies. But he was a born entrepreneur whose first businesses included selling matches, ballpoint pens, pencils, seeds, Christmas tree decorations, and food.
From humble beginnings, Kamprad grew his mail-order company into the largest of its kind in the world. His first Mobel-IKEA store opened in 1958 in Almhult, Smaland followed wuicly by stores outside of Sweden, such as in Norway (1963), Denmark (1969), Switzerland (1973), and West Germany (1974), among others.
In June 2013, he resigned from the board of Inter IKEA Holding SA. He explained his decision as part of taking another step toward the generation shift although he is still known to provide his valued inputs about IKEA’s overall vision.