IKEA billionaire founder proud to be frugal at 80
By Stephanie Nebehay
GENEVA (Reuters) - IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad, ranked 4th richest man in the world, drives a 15-year-old car and always flies economy class, in part to inspire his 90,000 employees worldwide to see the virtue of frugality.
The billionaire Swede, who turns 80 on March 30, explained his legendary habits during a rare television interview in Switzerland, his adoptive home for nearly 30 years.
His fortune was recently estimated at $28 billion by Forbes magazine -- trailing only Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, U.S. investor Warren Buffett and Mexican industrialist Carlos Slim.
"People say I am cheap and I don't mind if they do. But I am very proud to follow the rules of our company," Kamprad told French-language Swiss Broadcasting Corporation.
Asked to confirm he drove an old Volvo, he said: "She is nearly new, just 15 years old, or something like that."
Interviewer Darius Rochebin teased that Ikea employees were always told to write on both sides of the paper.
"Why not? If there is such a thing as good leadership, it is to give a good example. I have to do so for all the Ikea employees," Kamprad retorted.