Q&A: Michael Ward, President, IKEA Canada

May 21, 2019

 

Q: You have been with IKEA for over 30 years. What is one memory that sticks out the most about your time working for the company? 
There isn’t one particular memory that sticks out, but rather the journey as a whole.  I started at IKEA through a one-year internship program in 1986. I’ve had the great opportunity to work in Sweden, the Netherlands and the United States and now to return home to Canada after 18 years.  Throughout it all I have to say the people I’ve worked with have made a lasting impression on me.  Their creativity and passion have inspired me throughout my career with IKEA.

Q: Why is sustainable practices important to IKEA’s overall mission?

We know the world is changing and asking more from brands like IKEA – people don’t just want better value and better products, they want better businesses.  At IKEA, we believe being a good business is also good for business.  At the heart of it, IKEA is a values-based company.  Our customers share this as well.  They have also told us they want more sustainable solutions and we have listened.  We continue to experience strong sales of products that enable water savings, energy savings, waste reduction and sorting, and healthy living. Over the past three years, sales of these products grew by close to 50%.   Beyond the in-store experience, IKEA’s commitment to sustainability is clear in other parts of our business.  We are proud to own two wind farms in southern Alberta.  Together they generate enough electricity to power 40,000 homes.  That is  about  4x  as  much power as IKEA consumes across the  country.

Q: Where do you see IKEA heading in the next five years?

IKEA wants to create a better everyday life for the many people and we are doing this by transforming into a world class multi-channel retailer.  In the coming 5 years we will transform our business and become more affordable, accessible and sustainable.  We are building from our strengths and the needs of our customers.  People want more value and we have introduced several enhanced services to delivery this: our sell-back program, 365-day return policy and our recent acquisition of TaskRabbit, a platform that allows customers to connect digitally with Taskers who are able to help assemble IKEA furniture

Q: What is your favourite IKEA furniture? 

I love IKEA kitchens.  They are a perfect expression of what we call Democratic Design where we focus on  form, function, low price, sustainability and quality in our products and solutions.   A beautiful kitchen at a fraction of the price compared to other offers.



Beautiful Possibilities: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at IKEA

Friday, May 24
​11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Delta Winnipeg