The founder and former CEO of the iconic Swedish retail furniture outlet IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad, passed away on Saturday at the age of 91, according to Fortune.
It was estimated that Kamprad ranked among the top 10 richest people in the world with a reported net worth of around $58.7 billion, a wealth that was accumulated by producing ready-to-assemble furniture for the masses at an affordable price. And it was a fortune protected by a rather frugal style of living.
The man who founded a company that operated 403 stores in 49 countries and generated sales of roughly $47.6 billion in 2017 actually began his foray into entrepreneurship at a young age when he would sell matchbooks, pencils and other assorted goods to his neighbors, prior to his start selling furniture in 1948 at the age of 22.
But though he became incredibly wealthy through his successful business, he didn’t lead an extravagant lifestyle as one would assume and was instead known for being a frugal billionaire.
The founder of IKEA and one of the greatest entrepreneurs of the 20th century, Ingvar Kamprad, has passed away at the age of 91. Read more in our newsroom: https://t.co/7jGPwWt6Es pic.twitter.com/SdPTkuOu9w
— IKEA USA (@IKEAUSA) January 28, 2018
In fact, according to a piece from the U.K. Express in 2013, Kamprad was well-known for flying economy class on budget airlines when he could have jetted around the world on his own private luxury aircraft. He also wore old, rumpled suits he acquired from thrift stores.
He also reportedly drove an older Volvo until he was persuaded to get rid of it because it had become too dangerous to continue operating.
Kamprad was even reportedly once turned away by security from a gala event at which he was to receive a “Businessman of the Year” award due to the fact that he arrived at the ceremony on a public bus.
Imagine and American billionaire pulling up in a public bus to be feted an awards banquet. It’s almost inconceivable.
He also eschewed fancy restaurants and preferred to dine on Swedish meatballs in his own stores, and reportedly even swiped salt and pepper packets from cafeterias to use at home.
He even supposedly furnished his entire house in Switzerland — which is actually quite modest in comparison to the typical mansions of other wealthy individuals — with furniture from his own store that he assembled by himself.
In his memoir “Testament of a Furniture Dealer,” Kamprad wrote, “We don’t need flashy cars, impressive titles, uniforms or other status symbols. We rely on our strength and our will!”
His company will miss him.
“We are mourning the loss of our founder and dear friend Ingvar,” stated Jesper Brodin, CEO of the Ikea Group, according to Fortune. “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.”
Brodin said in an interview Sunday that Kamprad “started as a 17-year-old with two empty pockets, but a ton of entrepreneurship. He used to tell me that he never knew it would become so big.”
His death “will affect us all and we’ll take time to be sad and reflect on what Ingvar achieved,”added Brodin.
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