IKEA—Ingvar Kamprad’s startup from 1943

October 25, 2022

Hannu Ryopponen – TALKS WITH PETRI

Hannu Ryopponen talks about working with Ingvar Kamprad, how he was as an entrepreneur and what made IKEA successful. He also reveals what happened when he travelled with Kamprad and met dignitaries.


Hannu Ryöppönen is a private investor and board professional who, since the 1970s, has served as CFO of many international companies in London, New York, Copenhagen, Luxembourg and Stockholm. He worked for over 10 years in Ingvar Kamprad’s inner circle as a group CFO for IKEA.

Ryöppönen has held top executive positions in companies like Royal Ahold, Industri Kapital, Stora Enso, and he has been in non-executive positions on boards of Amer Sports, Samworth Brothers, ICA, Novo Nordisk, Billerud Korsnas and Neste, among others. Apart from his extensive experience in finance and strategy, he has spent well over half of his career in different sectors of the retail industry.


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Episode notes

  • working with Ingvar Kamprad
  • trust but verify
  • co-workers
  • extreme memory and observant
  • details and big picture
  • personality
  • decision-making
  • store opening visits
  • frugality
  • IKEA culture
  • informal organisation
  • delegated decision-making
  • non-confrontational feedback
  • success factors
  • Poland as a part of the success
  • “If we can’t afford it then we don’t build it”
  • dependency to lenders
  • cost consciousness
  • bureaucrazy
  • “if we talk about it now we should be able to do it tomorrow”
  • hot dog concept and an instant gratification
  • customer experience insights
  • Kamprad training excursions
  • “retail school”
  • Design and meet the customer expectations
  • customer focus
  • open your wallet early
  • Stockholm store (“Kungens Kurva”)
  • Walmart and Sam Walton
  • common sense way of conducting business
  • what business would Kamprad have started now?

Episode links

The story of IKEA
The testament of a furniture dealer
Democratic Design
Kungens Kurva