Business

Ikea unpacks Jesper Brodin as new chief executive

Peter Agnefjall (l) and Jesper Brodin Image copyright Ikea
Image caption Peter Agnefjall (l) will hand over the reins to Jesper Brodin in September

Ikea, the Swedish flatpack furniture giant, has named Jesper Brodin as its new chief executive from September.

Mr Brodin is the company's head in Sweden and will succeed Peter Agnefjall, who had been in the role for four years.

Ikea is now based in the Netherlands and the new boss will work in Leiden.

The new chief executive said he was "very honoured and excited" about his new role.

Mr Agnefjall said he will take some time off with his family before embarking on his next challenge.

Lars-Johan Jarnheimer, chairman of Ikea's parent company INGKA Holding, said: "Under Peter's leadership, Ikea Group has expanded into new and crucial markets, accelerated our retail transformation in order to meet the changing needs of customers and taken our sustainability commitments further."

Robert Haigh, of analyst firm Brand Finance, said an internal appointment was a "sensible move" for a firm like Ikea.

"It's a difficult decision for a company whether to look inside the company or whether to bring someone in," he said.

"But for one with strong brand identity like Ikea, as we have seen with the recent appointment by John Lewis, it makes sense to continue that identity and culture. Ikea is still performing well and is Sweden and Scandinavia's most valuable brand."

Image copyright Getty Images

Ikea's sales have grown by double-digit percentages since it started selling its products online eight years ago, but the company is also concentrating on improving the in-store experience for customers.

Mr Haigh added: "While there has been a real decline in out-of-town shopping centres, especially in the food sector, the shopping experience can still be something people really enjoy.

"At Ikea customers like to be able to feel the product and it is almost uniquely tied in with the Ikea experience, with people also going there for the meatballs and other food."

Ikea opened its first store in 1958 and has made ready-to-assemble furniture a global phenomenon.

Last year 783 million people visited the company's 348 stores, while it had 2.1 billion visits to its website.

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