STOCKHOLM May 2 IKEA Group announced
a new chairman on Friday, naming Lars-Johan Jarnheimer - board
member and former boss of Swedish telecoms firm Tele2 - in a
move that maintains the founding family's influence over the
World No. 1 furniture maker.
Jarnheimer, 54, has close ties with IKEA founder Ingvar
Kamprad's three sons, who all hold high level positions in
IKEA's complex ownership structure.
He will take over in January next year from 69-year-old
Goran Grosskopf who has held the reins at INGKA Holding BV -
which controls the IKEA Group - since 2007, and was also a close
associate of Kamprad.
"It won't mean any change in IKEA's direction or strategy,"
Jarnheimer told Reuters. "But at the same time, a company can't
just stand still when customers change their behaviour."
IKEA, whose warehouse-like stores sell everything from
highchairs to fitted kitchens, aims to nearly double revenues to
50 billion euros ($68.37 billion) by 2020 by expanding online -
answering critics who say it has been slow to do so - and
building stores in new markets such as India.
The Swedish firm posted a record net profit of 3.3 billion
euros in 2012/13 on revenues of 27.9 billion euros in the 2013
IKEA's founder and head strategist Kamprad began to step
back from the day-to-day running of IKEA in the late 1980s. None
of his three sons has yet emerged as a clear successor to their
IKEA said Kamprad, who returned to Sweden from decades in
tax exile in Switzerland earlier this year, will remain a senior
advisor to the board.
Grosskopf could not be reached for a comment.
Jarnheimer has held a number of high-level posts within a
group of companies controlled by Swedish investment firm
He is currently a board member of airline group SAS
, search and directory firm Eniro and chairman
of E-commerce group CDON Group, and was CEO of Swedish
telecoms operator Tele2 for ten years through 2008.
Grosskopf, a tax expert, will move on to other roles in
He will be chairman of the Stichting INGKA Foundation -
owner of the IKEA Group - and two other foundations: Stichting
IKEA Foundation, which handles IKEA's charitable activities and
the Stichting IMAS Foundation, which manages financial assets on
behalf of the Stichting INGKA Foundation.
Founded in 1943 in a shed by Kamprad, IKEA's more than 300
stores in 26 countries attracted about 680 million shoppers
during the past year.
(Additional reporting by Simon Johnson and Olof Swahnberg;
Editing by Sophie Walker)