Tove Laxvik, an IKEA employee, signs a book of condolences at the entrance of an IKEA store in Stockholm. AFP / TT News Agency / Anders WIKLUND
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Will IKEA lose its way after the death of its almighty founder Ingvar Kamprad?"IKEA has no leader," industrial economics researcher Magnus Henrekson said in an interview with Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, suggesting the company could lose its compass without its guiding light following Kamprad's death Saturday at the age of 91 .After founding his flat-pack furniture company at the age of just 17, Kamprad devoted his entire life to developing it into a worldwide behemoth, remaining involved in the running of the group until the end.Known simply as "Ingvar" to his employees, from the stores' sales staff to senior executives, Kamprad was regarded as a demigod who kept a paternalistic eye on his "IKEA family," whom he rewarded with generous bonuses despite his well-known reputation for frugality.Complex fortress Bertil Torekull, a friend and confidant of Kamprad's, says doomsayers who predict post-Ingvar woes at IKEA have nothing to fear.Ingvar Kamprad began preparing for his death after his 50th birthday in 1976, to ensure that the company had enough money to grow on its own – he was fiercely opposed to going public.Ultimately, for IKEA's 190,000 employees, it's "business as usual," Jarnheimer said.
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