A 30 year leader at IKEA returns home to Canada
BURLINGTON – IKEA Canada is pleased to announce the appointment of Michael Ward as President (Country Retail Manager) to lead the Canadian business. Transitioning from his global role as Regional Retail Manager, Michael officially stepped into his new role on January 1st, 2019.
“Having begun my IKEA career in Mississauga, over 30 years ago, it is a huge privilege to return home to lead the Canadian organization,” said Michael Ward, President, IKEA Canada. “These are exciting times for IKEA Canada and I look forward to my role in leading the organization through our transformation journey to become the leading multichannel home furnishings retailer in Canada.”
With an extensive career at IKEA, Michael’s journey began with what started as a one-year internship program in 1986. From there he quickly progressed to hold various positions with increased responsibilities at IKEA Canada, and then moved onto IKEA globally where he held strategic leadership roles in Sweden, the Netherlands and the United States. Michael has a passion for retail with a proven track record of driving growth and leading through change on both a country and a global level.
Born in Ontario, Michael will now lead the transformation of the Canadian business to create a more affordable, accessible, convenient and sustainable shopping experience for the IKEA customer. Throughout this transformation, IKEA will explore new store formats, enhance the in-store experience, invest in new digital experiences, improve its service offer and optimize its distribution networks.
“We have had healthy growth in Canada, and we know we are in a rapidly changing retail environment,” continued Ward. “Urbanization, new technology and digitalization have all changed the way our customers live and shop. To create the IKEA of tomorrow, we will transform to meet our customers in the best possible way, whenever, wherever and however they choose to shop.”
Michael will take over from Marsha Smith who will join IKEA United Kingdom and Ireland in a management role, responsible for driving growth and brand positioning of key market areas within the United Kingdom. For the past two years, Marsha has led IKEA Canada with a strong passion for co-workers, customers and a determination to create a better everyday life for the many people. Marsha will remain with the Canadian organization until the end of February.
IKEA has been in Canada for more than 40 years. Recently, IKEA Canada released its Annual Summary for fiscal year 2018, reporting sales growth of 8 per cent and welcoming more than 30 million visitors to stores and more than 104 million visits to IKEA.ca.