Lars Petersson, who most recently served as president of IKEA U.S. and spent more than 30 years at the furniture retailer, joined APCO Worldwide’s International Advisory Council (IAC) as senior counselor, Margery Kraus, founder and executive chairman, announced.
“Lars has decades of experience successfully entering and navigating new and challenging markets around the world, and steering through difficult business environments as well as complex bureaucracy,” Kraus said. “Throughout his career, Lars has consistently developed innovative ways to capture market opportunities while staying true to the core values that defined his company’s purpose. I am honored to welcome Lars to the IAC and look forward to the sage counsel he will provide to our clients.”
Petersson first joined IKEA as a shopkeeper in Malmo, Sweden in 1983 and over the years, he held various country, regional and global positions. As the president of IKEA U.S., Petersson initiated multiple diversity and inclusion (D&I) programs, further strengthening the company’s socially-conscious brand. He launched a D&I ambassadors program and expanded parental leave benefits, all while steering the company through a politically sensitive business landscape.
“I am excited to join such a prestigious group of global leaders, each with unique expertise and perspectives,” Petersson said. “I look forward to helping clients navigate the complex challenges in the ever-changing global business environment.”
APCO’s IAC and its four subgroups comprise more than 100 recognized global leaders, including business and industry leaders, policy experts, former elected politicians, academics, renowned journalists, diplomats and nonprofit pioneers. Petersson joins a distinguished group of corporate communications industry veterans, including Susan Molinari, Nicholas Ashooh, Barie Carmichael, Chris Hassall, Elaine Kolish, Sandra Taylor, and Wendi Strong. Petersson is joining the IAC during a landmark year for APCO. Founded by Kraus as a single-woman operation 35 years ago, APCO has grown to the largest majority women-owned communications firm in the world.
In addition to his tenure as the president of IKEA U.S., Petersson previously served as retail and marketing manager, and then president and CEO of the retailer in Japan, and as CEO in Italy. In Japan, he oversaw the expansion of IKEA to include five additional stores and a new distribution center. He also implemented a program to increase the share of women in management positions and ensure equal pay. In Italy, he opened three new retail locations over the course of four years and revitalized growth in the market for IKEA during a tumultuous period of recession-driven austerity measures and low consumer spending.