Ikea founder steps down from board, youngest son to become chairman

STOCKHOLM (AFP) - Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad is stepping down from the board of Inter Ikea, owner of the furniture giant's concept and brand, as his youngest son becomes chairman, the company said on Wednesday.

"I see this as a good time for me to leave the board of Inter Ikea Group. By that we are also taking another step in the generation shift that has been ongoing for some years," Mr Kamprad said in a statement.

"This does, however, not mean that I will stop working. My passion and engagement for the many people, the Ikea concept, simplicity and cost consciousness is as strong as ever," he added.

The 87-year-old businessman said he would continue to spend time at Ikea stores and factories, and he remains on the supervisory board of the Liechtenstein-based Interogo Foundation, which owns the Inter Ikea Group.

The Inter Ikea Group also said Mr Kamprad's youngest son Mathias would take the helm of the company, as outgoing chief executive Per Ludvigsson was retiring.

Like their father, Mr Kamprad's three sons only rarely speak to the media.

Eldest son Peter has been described as a manager, and heads up the Luxembourg-based Ikano Group that invests and manages the family fortune.

His brother Jonas is responsible for design and product development at Inter Ikea, where Mr Mathias Kamprad was previously a board member.