Founder of Ikea, Ingvar Kamprad, dead at 91

The founder of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad, has died, aged 91

Flat-pack empire: Five things to know about Ingvar Kamprad and Ikea

Kamprad founded IKEA on the family farm in 1943 when he was 17 years old, but only started going big in 1956 when the company pioneered flat-packed furniture. He chose the name IKEA as a composite of his own first and last initials, as well as the first letters of the family farm, Elmtaryd, and the nearby village Agunnaryd.

The business now has around 400 stores, many of them cavernous warehouses in out-of-town malls and roughly 1 billion people visited them previous year. Ingvar Kamprad was a great entrepreneur of the typical southern Swedish kind - hardworking and stubborn, with a lot of warmth and a playful twinkle in his eye.

Kamprad sold ready-to-assemble furniture, kitchen appliances and home accessories in his Ikea stores, which grew into 355 outlets in 29 countries, CNN reported.

Despite his lack of operational role within the company after 1988, IKEA noted, Kamprad served as a senior adviser in the years that followed, offering many contributions to employees during the span of his career. He worked until the very end of his life, staying true to his own motto that most things remain to be done.

"He believed people should be able to buy quality furniture at accessible prices, as long as they were willing to do some assembly themselves", Saunders said.

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Kamprad's close friend Bertil Torekull told the Swedish daily Aftonbladet that the industrialist died from pneumonia which he contracted after a visit overseas, aggravated by "the frailty of old age".

However, Mr Kamprad was also widely known for his quirky ways, including his frugality and contempt for taxes. "I don't think I'm wearing anything that wasn't bought at a flea market.

By his final year in middle school, he had expanded into Christmas ornaments, fish, lingonberries, and garden seeds", writes Gwynn Guilford for Quartz in a piece that has eight additional "intriguing facts" about the frugal mogul, including the fact that he had been involved with Swedish fascist movement in the 1940s and '50s. "It means that I want to set a good example", he told Swedish channel TV4 in 2016.

Although he was no longer involved in IKEA's daily operations, his principles remained deeply ingrained in the company, which sometimes operated more like a secretive cult than a business, according to Stenebo's book. The Consortium of Investigative Journalists identified IKEA in 2014 as one of the giant multinationals that moved money to tax havens to avoid taxes. Je accepted the allegation saying it was a mistake and a youthful stupidity.

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