IKEA's complicated corporate structure is believed to be designed to protect the Kamprad family from taxes and to avoid the possibility of a takeover of IKEA. Though Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA, is often cited as one of the wealthiest men in the world, Kamprad does not technically own IKEA. IKEA is privately held by a foundation, which in turn owns a group that controls the companies that run IKEA's individual operations. Responsible for this tangled web of corporations, foundations and tax shelters is IKANO, a Swedish group also owned by the Kamprad family that is primarily concerned with managing the Kamprad family fortune, though interestingly, in 2008 it owned 25% of Habitat, another large European based furniture store. Read more about the Kamprad family accounting in this article in the Economist: Flat Pack Accounting
Stichting INGKA Foundation
IKEA is actually a privately held company owned by Stichting INGKA Foundation, a non-profit registered in Leiden in the Netherlands which is controlled by the Kamprad family. The Dutch foundation, worth US$36 billion in 2006, according to The Economist, was created by Kamprad in 1982 for the stated purpose, "To promote and support innovation in the field of architectural and interior design." Stichting INGKA Foundation is the owner of INGKA Holding B.V.
Kamprad tranferred 100% of his equity in IKEA to the foundation as an irrovcable gift in 1984. It is thought that he did this to protect IKEA from family squabbling - IKEA will never be inherited in whole or part by his three sons (Peter, Jonas and Mathias). Says Kamprad, "My family [will] never [have] the chance to sell or destroy the company."
In 2007, there was an internet scam involving an email purportedly from the Stichting INGKA Foundation granting funds to the recipient for their "personal , educational and business development." These emails are an obvious attempt at 'phishing' or attempting to gain personal information from the recipient in order to exploit money. See the full text of the email here.
INGKA Holding B.V.
INGKA Holding B.V. is the parent company for all of the IKEA Group companies which is governed by a Supervisory Board; Goran Grosskopf is the Chairman. Though ostensibly retired, Ingvar Kamprad serves as Senior Advisor, while his son Mathias is on the Supervisory Board. The IKEA Group companies are comprised of IKEA Services B.V. and IKEA Services AB which have nine divisions in Sweden and the Netherlands which support the work in all the IKEA Group companies.
IKEA Group Management
IKEA Group Management is composed of: Anders Dahlvig - President and CEO of IKEA Group; Hans Gydell - Group Vice President; Sören Hansen - Chief Financial Officer; Lars Gejrot - Head of Human Resources; Torbjörn Lööf - Head of CS Region West; Peter Högsted - President of the UK division; Ian Duffy - President of the Asia Pacific division; Pernille Spiers-Lopez - President of the North America division; Göran Stark is responsible for Industry Investment and Development; Werner Weber - President of the Germany division and Mikael Ohlsson.
IKEA Group Companies
The IKEA Group Companies are primarily concerned with carrying out the necessary functions to bring IKEA products to market. The companies include Swedwood, IKEA of Sweden, Purchasing, Distribution, and other functions such as Human Services, Internet Technology and Communications.
Swedwood is the name for the industrial companies that manufacture IKEA products. Swedwood was formed in response to the economic and political upheaval that began with the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989. In 1991, Swedwood was born, forever changing how IKEA does business. Though Swedwood has branched out into North America with the opening of a plant in Danville, VA and into other parts of the world, the majority of the labor remains in the Eastern European nations. With over 7000 employees in FY2007, Poland makes up 52% of Swedwood's employee base. Slovakia comes in second with 2130 employees (18%), and Russia is third with 1290 employees (9%).
Swedwood is responsible for ensuring compliance with IWAY - the IKEA Way of Purchasing Home Furniture Products. These are IKEA's internal policies governing everything from environmental issues, worker safety, compliance with local laws and regulations to social welfare and manufacturers who contract to do business with IKEA must abide by these policies.
IKEA of Sweden
IKEA of Sweden, located in Älmhult, Sweden, employs the designers that design and develop the IKEA range of products that are sold in IKEA stores. IKEA designers work on the original principle, "to create a better everyday life for the many people."
Purchasing and Supplies
IKEA maintains 41 Trading Service Offices in 30 countries, and has over 1350 suppliers in over 50 countries. Purchasing is responsible for ensuring reliable production, efficiency and minimal waste in manufacturing processes.
Distribution is responsible not only for moving products from point A to point B, but also for maximizing efficiency, analyzing and managing supply chain issues and maintaining quality control throughout the supply chain - from the manufacturer to the customer in the warehouse. Distribution is also responsible for the Recovery department, which maintains the AS-IS room (also known as the Bargain Corner). There are over 27 distribution centers and 11 customer distribution centers in 16 countries.
Inter IKEA Systems B.V.
Separate from the IKEA Group companies is Inter IKEA Systems B.V. which is registered in Delft, The Netherlands and is the owner of the IKEA concept and trademark, and is the franchisor of the IKEA concept worldwide. According to the website for Inter IKEA B.V., "the objective of Inter IKEA Systems B.V. is to increase the availability of IKEA products through world-wide franchising of the IKEA Concept." Inter IKEA Systems B.V. is not owned by INGKA Holding B.V., but is owned rather by Inter IKEA Holding S.A. which is registered in Luxemburg and is part of Inter IKEA Holding which is registered in the Netherlands Antilles. The ownership of these holding companies has not been disclosed, but it is widely assumed to be owned in part or full by the Kamprad family.
The majority of stores are franchised through Inter IKEA Systems B.V. by INGKA Holding Group, which operates stores throughout Europe, North America and Australia. Other stores are franchised independently. Regardless of the franchisee, all IKEA stores pay 3% of sales to Inter IKEA Systems B.V. on an annual basis.