In the early spring the publishing house "Alpina Business Book" issued a book of the first general director of IKEA in Russia Lennart Dahlgren " IKEA loves Russia: a story of leadership, passion and perseverance" (translated by Oksana Belychook). This book becomes of particular relevance when two top managers of IKEA: Director of Central and Eastern Europe Per Kaufman, and Real Estate Director of IKEA Russia Stefan Gross - lost their posts two weeks ago "for being tolerant towards corrupt practices of a contractor".
Lennart Dahlgren - one of the heroes of the consumer revolution in Russia. Ten years ago there was not a single store of IKEA in our country. Last year the12th of them was opened in Omsk. Dahlgren has experienced many adventures in Russia. "It happened so that I came to work on Monday, looked at the watch and it was Thursday", he recalls. Arrogance of governors and mayors, harassment and incompetence of smaller officials, controversial laws - anyone's head would go round from that. But Dahlgren had a super weapon in his store: gratefulness of millions of customers, covert and overt allies on different floors of the Russian power. Dahlgren returned home in 2006, but his relationship with our country is not over yet. Forbes publishes extracts from his book.
One case was associated with the name of Mrs. Baturina, wife of the Moscow Mayor Luzhkov - the famous, ambitious and prosperous business lady, and the richest woman in Russia – the case was in my mind for a long time. Baturina owned construction companies and a number of other industries, in particular, plants making furniture out of plastic. Mrs. Baturin unexpectedly took part in one of our meetings with representatives of that company, which we considered as a potential supplier. She entered the room in the middle of conversation, and without any introducing said that we could buy products of one of her businesses on her terms only. Those were beyond the rich of reason and were totally unacceptable. Then we were told that that disagreement had played a role of red cloth in our subsequent conversations with her husband on the construction of IKEA on Kutuzovsky Avenue. I still can not believe that it might have been true.
Source: "Russian Forbes” on February 27, 2010