IKEA's Founder, Ingvar Kamprad, Dies at 91
On 27 January, Ingvar Kamprad, the man behind the Ikea furniture chain, died at the age of 91 at his home in Smaland, Sweden
The IKEA founder's death was announced by the company, which said that Ingvar passed away "peacefully" following a short illness.
He was "surrounded by his loved ones", the company added in its statement.
He was born in 1926 in Småland, where he grew up on a farm. His family was poor, and he earned money selling matches and pencils in villages.
At the early age of 17, Ingvar founded IKEA, the business that became his lifelong commitment and made him one of the world's richest men.
Despite being the world's eighth-richest person, worth USD58.7 billion, Kamprad insisted that his home was modest, that he had no real fortune and that IKEA was held by a charitable trust
However, his claims were far from true.
According to a report in the New York Times, the IKEA founder's home was a villa overlooking Lake Geneva, and he had an estate in Sweden and vineyards in Provence.
While IKEA was indeed operated through a charitable trust and a complex series of holding companies, it was all controlled by the Kamprad family to avoid any chance that IKEA might be taken public or broken up.
The IKEA founder was a fascist sympathizer
He tried to hide his fascist past by making a donation of USD51 million to the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees. While he faced questions over his links to fascist groups, he later admitted that it was a "mistake".
In 1956, IKEA pioneered flat-pack furniture
According to reports, it was Ingvar who came up with the idea of flat-pack furniture.
He got the idea when he watched an employee remove the legs from a table in order to fit it into a customer's car. It was at that moment he realised that it could be developed to save money on transport, storage and sales space.
While Ingvar did not have an operational role within IKEA after 1988, he kept contributing to the business in the role of senior advisor
Back in the 80s, he gave an interview in which he said that his vision for Ikea was that it would be a company that would make life easier for its customers.
Following his death, Jesper Brodin, CEO and President of the IKEA Group, said:
"We are mourning the loss of our founder and dear friend Ingvar. His legacy will be admired for many years to come and his vision – to create a better everyday life for the many people – will continue to guide and inspire us."
Meanwhile, the iconic A&W outlet in Petaling Jaya is closing down as its redevelopment plans have been approved by the MBPJ: