Ikea founder leaves key post as power handover continues

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Ingvar Kamprad, creator of Swedish furniture giant Ikea, is to take another step back from his company as the youngest of his three sons takes a key board role in a gradual handover of power.

Kamprad, 87, who founded the business in rural south Sweden 70 years ago, stepped down in 1986 as chief executive of Ikea, which has become the world’s biggest furniture group, famous for its flat packs and do-it-yourself assembly.

He will now leave the board of a key company within the business – Inter Ikea Group – and his youngest son Mathias will take over as its chairman.

“I see this as a good time for me to leave the board of Inter Ikea Group,” Kamprad said, referring to the company which owns the brand and which collects 3 per cent of Ikea stores’ sales worldwide each year.

“By that we are also taking another step in the generation shift that has been ongoing for some years,” added Kamprad, a billionaire, who has been resident in Switzerland since the 1970s.

The Kamprad family still controls the complex corporate structure that makes up the Ikea empire and Kamprad himself keeps a tight grip behind the scenes.

He chairs the Dutch-registered foundation which controls Ikea Group, the owner of 302 of the 343 Ikea stores worldwide. He is also on the board of family-controlled Interogo Foundation in Liechtenstein, which in turn owns Inter Ikea Group.

Mathias is also an Interogo board member and has held various positions in the Kamprad-founded groups, but like all the Kamprads he has kept a low public profile. Mathias’s two older brothers, Jonas and Peter, also have board roles within the groups.