IKEA's founding father returns home

The most powerful businessman in the Swedish business world, IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad, returned to Sweden after 40 years of living abroad. After leaving the country because of high taxes, Kamprad lived in Switzerland for many years, but after the death of his wife chose to return home. Now billionaire will pay taxes at home.

According to Sydsvenskan newspaper, Kamprad said that he was returning to the country to be closer to his family and old friends. After the death of his dear wife Margaret about one and a half years ago, nothing kept him in Switzerland. Now he will have to pay taxes in Sweden.   

The businessman left Sweden years ago in a protest against the very high taxes in Sweden in the 1970-1980's. According to Gazeta.ru, another Swedish billionaire, Tetra Pak founder Hans Rausing, left the country for the same reasons and now lives in the United States, with a fortune estimated by Bloomberg at approximately $13 billion. The actions of the entrepreneurs caused a great public outcry at the time.

87-year-old Kamprad left business a long time ago when he resigned as the CEO of IKEA in 1986, but remains one of the most influential people in the business world of Sweden. To date, the businessman is heading the Netherlands Foundation Stiching Ingka registered in Holland controlled by the IKEA Group. He also sits on the board of directors of Interogo Foundation, a fund managed by the Kamprad family, which in turn owns Inter IKEA Group. His youngest son Mathias also sits on the board of directors of Interogo Foundation, stressed the publication.

His exact worth is not clearly defined because of the complicated scheme of assets ownership. Currently, Forbes estimates personal wealth of the furniture magnate at $3.3 billion, while Bloomberg estimated his net worth at $51.7 billion. The old tycoon is going to live in Agunnaryd in Småland, where he has a mansion. Last year, Kamprad allocated 6,000,000 euros (920 thousand dollars) for the development of this town, ITAR-TASS reported.

Recently Ingvar Kamprad transferred the post of the chairman of the board in the main concern, "Inter Ikea Group," to his youngest son Matthias, but still retains much of his former powers. His other older sons are also involved in the business.

49-year-old Peter called by the press "the chief economist of the family," a director of a IKEA structure, a diversified Ikano company, is managing a retail business, trading network, real estate, financial, insurance and other assets. Jonas (who is about to turn 47) referred to by the newspaper as "the creative designer and creator of products," heads another IKEA structure - Ingka Holding. The youngest son Matthias (43) is referred called by the media "the entrepreneur and the main creator of new ideas," he will focus on improving the IKEA brand.

Ingvar Kamprad founded IKEA in 1943. The network currently consists of over 300 stores in 41 countries, including Russia. In June, the Swiss magazine Bilan assessed the wealth of the founder of IKEA at $37.5 billion dollars, calling him the richest man in Europe.

In recent years IKEA has been dominated by the family, but Kamprad never released the venture out of his control. In the short term, the company's goal is to enter the markets of China and India and to establish on-line sales. In Russia, the company's work faced specific problems such as bribery, which is unacceptable for doing business in Scandinavia. A couple of years ago two IKEA top managers were fired for turning a blind eye to an incident of a bribe by a contracting company given to resolve the situation with energy supply in "Mega" shopping mall in St. Petersburg.

According to IKEA, the company has consistently opposed corruption. All Group units conduct their work with utmost transparency. The company has a strict code of business ethics and clear rules are required not only for the rank and file employees and IKEA managers, but for all business partners. These rules are the same for all countries of the world, and Russia is no exception.
Valentin Gridin.

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov