Ikano, when non core activities become heart ! Part 1: the strategy

In 1998, next to its main business, IKEA developed a few activities […]

July 5, 2012

In 1998, next to its main business, IKEA developed a few activities in finance, real estate, insurance, fund management,… outside IKEA and created IKANO, an umbrella company for all non-core activities. Today, Ikano, a Luxembourg-headquartered company, benefits from an IT globalisation strategy, coordinated by Chris Adam, Group Head of IT of the Ikano Group.

[question]Mr Adam, could you introduce Ikano globally ? [/question][answer]

That’s exactly it: our group is global; it’s active in numerous countries! Ikano may not be very well known in Luxembourg and people may often think it’s limited to the Ikano Fund Management activity, one of the group’s entities. But Ikano is really a multi-activity group whose origin is linked to IKEA, the contemporary furniture retailer, which nowadays needs no introduction.

Actually, from the start, IKEA developed a few activities next to its main furniture designing and selling business. In 1988 the Kamprad family, who owns IKEA, decided to create a specific group that would host the non-core businesses of IKEA.

Initially, Ikano was designed to regroup various activities that were progressively structured into the five business lines existing today:

  • Finance; which amongst others does Retail Banking, card management and leasing;
  • Real Estate; which oversees many departments including shopping centres, appartments and offices;
  • Reinsurance & Insurance; which now extends to personal insurance in Sweden;
  • Fund Management; well-known and active in Luxembourg considering the importance of the local fund industry;
  • and Retail; Ikano operates IKEA department stores in Singapore, Malaysia and now in Thailand since November 2011, as well as several shopping centres.

Chris Adam, Ikano

[/answer][question] Are Ikano’s headquarters located in Luxembourg? [/question][answer]

Yes, we have a particular structure compared to other international companies based in Luxembourg, since we also have the Head Office of Ikano here. Even if we are a global group operating in many countries and the Luxembourg entity is quite small, the HQ is located here.

We are 80 people in Luxembourg whereas the total employee count of Ikano reaches 3,500 people. Ikano is mostly present in Europe and Asia. We have an active presence in Nordic countries but also in the UK, in Germany, in Austria, in the Netherlands, in Poland, in Russia, etc.

Our CEO (Arja Taaveniku, who just became CEO of Ikano), our CFO, as well as the Managing Directors of both the Insurance and the Fund Management business lines are also based in Luxembourg. The Managing Directors overseeing Finance and Real Estate are located in Sweden, whereas our MD for South-East Asia is in Singapore.

[/answer][question]Are you supporting the Ikano headquarters, including the Corporate IT, from Luxembourg ?[/question][answer]

Yes, we are, and we have also created here several departments reaching across the whole group, such as Human Resources, Communication, Internal Audit, Tax & Legal, and Compliance. Our local IT team supports mobile and high availability solutions for the Headquarter and the management staff in addition to manage what we call the Group Services applications.. We have also had a global CIO for the last five years, after I was recruited to fill this position. A few years ago, the group started to plan more synergies between the departments on an IT level. This position was created to manage and coordinate everything that concerned IT. At the time, the organisation of IT was completely decentralised. Every entity was acting independently from the others; managing its systems on its own to address specific issues and needs. The group progressively became more structured and organised around the five business lines described previously. A global strategy was put in place.[/answer]

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