Bernard Arnault just became the world’s richest person. So who is he?



Bernard Arnault, the chairman of French luxury goods giant LVMH (LVMHF), has just become the first European to top Bloomberg’s list of the world’s richest people, relegating Elon Musk to second place.

Arnault’s net worth, now worth $171 billion, eclipsed the Tesla CEO’s fortune of $164 billion on Tuesday, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Arnault had already ousted Musk from the top spot on Forbes’ list of “Real Time Billionaires” last week.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Musk’s net worth has plummeted by $107 billion this year. Arnault’s wealth, which stems from his controlling interest in LVMH, has suffered a more modest $7 billion decline.

The divergence is partly due to the stock performance of the companies in which the pair owns shares. Musk’s purchase of Twitter (TWTR) hasn’t helped either. Still, he’s in no immediate danger of moving down the list: his fortune remains comfortably greater than that of Indian industrialist Gautam Adani ($125 billion) and Amazon (AMZN) founder Jeff Bezos ($116 billion), who is third in the ranking. and fourth place. Bloomberg’s list.

While Tesla’s (TSLA) stock price is down 54% this year, LVMH stock has held up, supported by strong sales in the United States and Europe. The luxury market has remained relatively stable this year, even as rising inflation has caused less affluent customers to change their spending habits. LVMH has a market capitalization of €362.4 billion ($386 billion).

Born in Roubaix in the north of France in 1949, Arnault graduated from the prestigious École Polytechnique, a technical school in Paris. He began his career at the Ferret-Savinel family business and became chairman in 1978 after successive promotions.

Six years later he got wind that the French government was looking for a new investor to take over Boussac Saint-Freres. The bankrupt textile group owned an important asset: Christian Dior, a celebrated French fashion house.

Arnault bought control of the group, returned it to profitability and embarked on a strategy to develop the world’s leading luxury goods company. “In the process, he revived Christian Dior as the cornerstone of the new organization,” according to a biography on the LVMH website.

Arnault purchased a controlling interest in LVMH in 1989, two years after the group was formed by the merger of Louis Vuitton and Moët Hennessy. He has since served as chairman and CEO of the company.

While his own name may not be instantly recognizable to many, the brands Arnault has helped grow – from Christian Dior to Dom Pérignon – have become household names.

Over the past three decades, Arnault has transformed LVMH into a luxury goods powerhouse with 75 labels selling wine, spirits, fashion, leather goods, perfumes, cosmetics, watches, jewelry, luxury travel and hotel accommodations. He opened China’s first Louis Vuitton store in Beijing in 1992.

In January 2021, the group completed the $15.8 billion acquisition of iconic American jeweler Tiffany & Co, the largest-ever acquisition in the luxury industry.

Arnault’s philanthropic endeavors are primarily pursued through LVMH, which focuses on arts and culture. In 2019, the group donated €200 million ($212 million) to help rebuild Notre Dame after a massive fire at Paris Cathedral.

Arnault has long held the title of Europe’s richest person, but the 73-year-old keeps a much lower profile than Musk and is not personally active on major social media platforms. In October, he told LVMH-owned Radio Classique that he had sold his private jet because he had been shamed on Twitter for his frequent use of the plane.

Arnault is married with five children, all of whom currently work at LVMH or one of its brands, according to Bloomberg.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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