Ikea founder ‘too busy to die’
The 86-year-old founder of Swedish furniture giant Ikea revealed he has no plans to retire and rejected any idea of the company going public in an interview published in Switzerland.
“The company will never go to the market,” Ingvar Kamprad told the latest edition of Swiss business magazine Bilanz. “We want to keep strict self-financing.”
Named by Swiss media in June as Europe’s richest man with an estimated fortune of $37.5 billion (28.8 billion euros) including holdings in the family-owned foundation, Lake Geneva resident Kamprad also rubbished recent reports that he intended to step down.
“Oh, I have so much work to do and no time to die,” he said, in an apparent reference to reports in the Swedish media in September that he was about to pass the baton to his three sons Peter, Jonas and Mathias.
In the interview, Kamprad also spoke about alleged disputes with his sons, all of whom have key roles in the business that employs 131,000 people in 41 countries, according to Bilanz.
“We do not always agree. But that’s normal in a family,” Kamprad said.
Despite his enormous wealth Kamprad confirmed his reputation for frugality, saying he lived “humbly and privately.”
Kamprad, who founded Ikea in 1943 in his home town of Aelmhult in southern Sweden, has faced harsh criticism in the past for his ties to the Nazi youth movement during World War II.
He later described the period as the “folly of youth” and “the greatest mistake of my life.”