IKEA’s CEO, Mikael Ohlsson To Step Down By Next Year

IKEA’s CEO, Mikael Ohlsson To Step Down By Next Year

Mikael Ohlsson, chief executive officer said IKEA’s sales grew by 7 percent for the fiscal year 2012, ending on August 31. In an interview with Reuters, Ohlsson said the world’s largest furniture retailer had a good year, gaining in all markets.  Last year, the company posted $25.17 billion euros in sales.

IKEA's CEO, Mikael Ohlsson To Step Down By Next Year

Earlier today, IKEA announced that Ohlsson will retire as CEO by September of next year, after serving the company for 34 years. He assumed his position as CEO of the company in 2009.

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Peter Agnefjall, Country Manager for IKEA in Sweden, will take over as CEO of the company. To prepare Agnefjall in his position as CEO of IKEA, he will be promoted as vice-president next year, while waiting for Ohlssons retirement in September. He has served in various leadership positions in the company since 1995.

Agnejfall told Reuters that under his leadership, the company will increase the number of store openings between 20-25 every year, from 2014 to 2015.  He said, “We will do a number of things to boost the growth even more.”

A related report from the Wall Street Journal cited that Ingvar Kamprad, founder and ultimate decision maker of IKEA, gave his three sons “more active ownership roles” in the company.

The three sons of Kamprad named Jonas, Mathias, and Peter, serve as members of the company’s board of directors. According to IKEA spokesperson Per Heggens, the elder Kamprad will continue his role in the company. According to him, Kamprad’s decision in giving his sons bigger roles in managing IKEA is symbolically important, but its immediate impact in the company is not yet clear.

Previous reports from the local press speculated the possibility that the elder Kamrad will give the control of IKEA to one of the board members, other than one his sons. In 2002, the senior Kamprad cleared out the issue of succession and told the press that his sons will eventually control the family’s interest in the company.

Mr. Kamprad founded IKEA in 1943, at the age of 17, in Småland, a province located in the southern part of Sweden. The company started selling birdseed, ballpoint pens, and Christmas decor, until its business expanded and became the world’s largest furniture retailer.

At present, the IKEA Group is controlled by Inter IKEA Systems BV, a company based in the Netherlands, which owns the IKEA franchise; Ingka, a holding company, which owns approximately 300 IKEA stores around the world; and Ikano, a banking and property company, which manages the fortune of Kamprad Family, that owns a number of IKEA stores worldwide.

Jonas is a member of the board of Ingka Holding Company; Mathias  serves as assistant to the elder Kamprad, and sits in the board of Inter IKEA Systems, while Peter is the chairman of the board of directors of Ikano, and supervises the purchasing and retail operation of IKEA.

According to Ylva Magnusson, spokesperson for IKEA, the two developments in the IKEA management are not related. She said the elder Kamrad’s decision is “a preparation for a generational shift, but it is not a drastic step. It has been ongoing for many years. “Ingvar is, like the rest of us, growing older, but we hope to have the joy of having Ingvar around at IKEA for many more years.”

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