Bernard Arnault is the boss of the French company LVMH, Louis Vuitton – Moët Hennessy,  the world’s leading luxury group.He was born in Roubaix on March 5, 1949 into a family of industrialists.

Bernard Arnault Biography

He was born on March 5, 1949, in Roubaix. His father, Jean Arnault, is the owner of a public works company.Arnault was born on March 5, 1949, in Roubaix. 

His father, Jean Arnault, is the owner of a public works company. In 1978, after studying at the Ecole Polytechnique, Bernard took over the management of the family business, renamed Farinel. 

In 1981, he moved to the United States to try to make Farinel prosper.

Close to politicians and more particularly to right-wing leaders, he is friends with Nicolas Sarkozy .

Bernard Arnault Career

After studying at Lycée de Roubaix and Lycée Faidherbe in Lille, he joined the Ecole Polytechnique. When he left, he chose a career as an engineer, which he worked for the Ferret-Savinel company. In 1974, he became Director of Construction, then Managing Director in 1977 and finally Chairman and Managing Director in 1978.

He remained so until 1984, when he became Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Financière Agache SA and Christian Dior SA He then undertook to reorganize the Financière Agache group as part of a development strategy based on prestige brands. Bernard made Christian Dior the cornerstone of this structure.

In 1989, he became the main shareholder of LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton, and thus created the world’s leading luxury group. He took over as Chairman in January 1989 and has held it since then.

Bernard Arnault is also Chairman of the Management Board of Groupe Arnault SE. Through his family holding companies, Bernard Arnault leads the Group and participates in the creation of several international investment funds.

Bernard Arnault’s career began in his father’s construction company, which he transformed into a property development company. After an unsuccessful attempt at development in the United States, Bernard Arnault laid the foundations of a luxury empire in France by buying the Dior brand.

We are in the 1980s, and the entrepreneur multiplies the raids on companies like Kenzo or Givenchy in perfumes, or TAG Heuer in watches. The charismatic boss, who also owns Bordeaux wine properties in particular, continues to grow his group and raises his own children in the bodies of LVMH

It also has shares in companies outside its group. During the years of building the group, Bernard Arnault also stood out for his investments in the media with the sale of the economic newspaper “La Tribune” to buy the group “Les Echos”.

The acquisition by Bernard Arnault of the luxury goods conglomerate LVMH was very ambitious. He showed his characteristic determination and ruthlessness in the systematic and well-calculated takeover of the company, and his successful integration of various famous ambitious brands into the group inspired several other fashion companies around the world to do the same.

Bernard Arnault’s LMVH company carries out various philanthropic activities. It supports humanitarian, scientific and medical research organisations, such as Save the Children, the Fondation des Hôpitaux de Paris and the Fondation Princesse Grace de Monaco.

The purchase of Tiffany responds to the insatiable purchasing appetite that Arnault has shown since, in 1984, he took control of the Boussac group, former owner of Dior, which was then on the verge of bankruptcy. 

Years later, in the midst of a boom in business concentrations, the new leader bought Loewe, Berluti, Kenzo, Guerlain, Fendi, Donna Karan, Sephora, Marc Jacobs, the department stores Le Bon Marché and La Samaritaine, multiplying the value of the LVMH group by 15. More recently, he signed an agreement with Stella McCartney, a defector from the Kering group, which controls his archenemy François Pinault .

Tiffany had been in his sights for a time . “It’s a myth for Americans and also a global one,” he said at the end of November on French radio Europe 1. Among his projects to develop the brand, Arnault plans to strengthen its presence in Europe and Asia, where LVMH is especially strong. “It should improve to be more desirable in the long run. The economic results are a consequence, but they should not be an objective”, he said in the same interview.

With this lucrative operation, Arnault tries to remedy some recent fiascos. For example, his attempted tax exile in Belgium in 2013, when he requested nationality from the neighboring country to evade taxes. 

He ended up backing down, although the episode damaged his and his group’s image. He also did not get round the purchase of Hermès in 2014, which cost him a fine of eight million by the French administration.

In the medium term, Arnault, 70, must also resolve the thorny issue of his succession, a taboo subject that no one wants to talk about. LVMH is first and foremost a family business. All five of Arnault’s sons work in the group and at least two of them seem well positioned to take the lead. 

In 2018, Arnault appointed his son Antoine, 42, as head of the company’s image and communication , after having been CEO of Berluti, the Italian leather goods brand founded in 1895. Arnault’s son, married to the model and Russian philanthropist Natalia Vodianova, has since occupied a strategic position and appears in all succession pools.

Bernard Arnault Awards And Achievements

He was named Commander of the French Legion of Honor in 2007 and Grand Officer of the French Legion of Honor in 2011.

In 2011, Arnault received the Corporate Citizenship Award from the Woodrow Wilson. 

Bernard Arnault Personal Life 

He has been married twice, and is the father of five children. His daughter Delphine Arnault is actively involved in the management of LVMH. His second wife, Hélene Mercier, is a pianist from Quebec. 

He is an art collector. Following the example of businessman François Pinault, he created a Louis Vuitton foundation for contemporary art.

He was a witness at the wedding of President Nicolas Sarkozy to Cécilia Ciganer-Albéniz. He was also awarded the French Legion of Honor. 

This luxury businessman, as defined by some, is considered a discreet, calm person and a great lover of art. It is precisely his fascination with artistic creation and the search for perfection that prompted him to enter the market for luxury products. 

His great challenge would come in 1985 when he decided to buy the Boussac group, to which Christian Dior belonged , to relaunch it and turn it into what it is today: a mythical firm in the world of design and the most sophisticated fashion.

For him, material success is of relative importance, what has truly fascinated him since he started in the business world is directing companies to place them at the forefront of the market. 

And in this field he has amply demonstrated his great achievements. If we add to this sincerity, rigor and rectitude as basic principles of his way of acting, we are, without a doubt, before a unique person within the complicated business world. 

Although chairing the LVMH group is an absorbing task, which requires him to travel and attend countless events with personalities from fields as disparate as politics, business, banking or culture, he always finds time to be with his family or perform as artistic patron. In addition, he has always been shown as a jealous guardian of his privacy.

This restless businessman who has made luxury his personal banner has also shown his interest in the world of the Internet , to the point that 5% of the assets of his personal holding company, his group, have been invested in the network and in telecommunications companies. Facing the future, he is prudent, but his initiative and his iron will make him capable of achieving anything he sets his mind to.

He is also a friend of some first and great ladies such as Bernadette Chirac, Claude Pompidou or Hillary Clinton who, for him, agreed to inaugurate the LVMH skyscraper in New York , in the middle of the electoral campaign. 

For a year and a half you can follow the Pinault-Arnault war, which mobilizes all the trenches with one goal: Gucci. Well, this great character comes out of his usual silence and, finally, talks about himself, his youth, private life, religious and political convictions and his company philosophy. 

A book of interviews by Yves Messarovitch, Creative Passion (Plon publishing house), has recently been published in France , in which he shows himself with an open heart.

He does not consider himself a particularly exuberant person, rather reserved. But only apparently. The reality is very different, because the truth is that he is passionate about what he does.

Bernard Arnault Net Worth

In 2015, Bernard Arnault had a net worth of $37.5 billion.

One of his competitors, François Pinault, whose Kering Group owns the luxury brands Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen and Gucci, went from 27,000 million dollars (22,110 million euros) to 55,100 million (45,120 million) during the same period.

The LVMH group – which includes brands such as Fendi, Christian Dior and Givenchy – rose 0.4% during the first hours of trading on Monday, which placed its market capitalization at 320,000 million dollars (262,100 million euros) and raised the personal participation of the businessman in more than 600 million (491 million euros), according to said medium.

The results of the first quarter of 2021 of LMVH reflected an increase of 32% compared to the same period of the previous year, registering revenues of 17,000 million dollars (around 14,000 million euros).

Bernard Arnault debuted in the top 10 in mid-2005 , with a fortune of 13,000 million dollars (10,650 million euros), and in the top 5 since 2018. The Frenchman became the third richest person in 2019, with a fortune of 76,000 million dollars. 

At the end of November, Bernard Arnault became the richest man in the world for a few hours. After the purchase of the American fine jewelry firm Tiffany , the owner of the LVMH group, which controls assets valued at 109.5 billion euros, climbed to the top of Forbes magazine’s list of great fortunes . 

Before a change in the stock price dropped him to second place, below Amazon chief Jeff Bezos ($113 billion) but slightly above computer tycoon Bill Gates ($106.7 billion).

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