IKEA president who led controversial store restructuring is retiring after 36 years with the Swedish furniture giant

Philip Lange / Shutterstock.comIn a letter to employees, Lars Petersson said he had ‘been blessed to be enthusiastic about my job, to have colleagues who make the hard work fun, and to work for a company whose culture and values mirror my own.’
  • IKEA US President Lars Petersson is set to retire at the end of August 2019.
  • Javier Quiñones, the retail manager of the chain’s UK and Ireland divisions, will take his place.
  • Petersson worked at IKEA for 36 years and will remain with the company through the summer as a senior advisor.

IKEA US President Lars Petersson is retiring after a 36-year career with the furniture retailer.

An IKEA spokesperson confirmed the news with Business Insider on Friday. Petersson has worked for the retailer since taking a job at its store in Malmö, Sweden, in 1983. He has served as president and retail country manager of the company’s US market since 2015.

Taking Petersson’s place is Javier Quiñones, the company’s retail manager for the UK and Ireland. Quiñones’ LinkedIn profile indicates that he’s worked at IKEA in some capacity for 13 years, getting his start as a sales manager in Barcelona.

Quiñones will officially take over on March 1, but Petersson will remain with the company as a senior advisor until August 2019.

Petersson helmed IKEA though a significant restructuring process known as organisation for growth – or O4G – that proved controversial with employees. Petersson himself issued an apology to workers in December 2018 and outlined a plan to boost morale.

Read more: In a leaked video, IKEA US head apologizes for restructuring that store employees say tanked morale and pit them against each other

“Over the past four years in the US, some of my proudest accomplishments are standing on the side of the many people – advocating for human rights, launching a diversity, equality and inclusion network with ambassadors in each of our stores, and launching a new parental leave benefit for all coworkers,” Petersson said in a statement provided to Business Insider.

Petersson has been outspoken about diversity and inclusion, even delivering a speech on the subject at the National Retail Federation’s 2019 Big Show earlier this month.

In a letter to IKEA US employees, Petersson quoted IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad and wrote that he has “been blessed to be enthusiastic about my job, to have colleagues who make the hard work fun, and to work for a company whose culture and values mirror my own.” He added that he was looking forward to spending more time with loved ones and travelling come September 1.

“On behalf of all coworkers, we thank Lars for his 36 years of dedication and contributions across multiple roles and markets, including Sweden, Italy, Japan and the U.S.,” Ingka Group retail operations manager Tolga Öncü said in a statement shared with Business Insider. “He has always served as a great leader, coworker and role model for IKEA culture and values, and we wish him the best of luck in his retirement.”

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