One of the wealthiest and the richest billionaires on Earth, Bernard Arnault is the Chairman and CEO of the most famous luxury conglomerate LVMH Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey. Also popularly known as “the pope of fashion”, Bernard is a king of the luxury world. There is no other name that comes to mind when we talk about luxury brands. With an estimated net worth of $190.9 Billion (as of December 2022), he is standing tall among the list of the world’s richest billionaires.
Bernard Arnault is a French businessman who controls the massive empire of LVMH, the world’s leading company in luxurious products. Bernard oversees the business of 70 world-famous fashion and cosmetic brands. Renowned brands such as Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Sephora, Dom Perignon, Hennesy and Moët et Chandon come under the umbrella of LVMH.
Bernard Arnault said, “In business, I think the most important thing is to position yourself for the long-term and not be too impatient, which I am by nature, and I have to control myself.”
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Childhood & Early Career
Bernard Arnault was born on March 5, 1949, in Roubaix, France. His family belonged to a wealthy industrial background. Bernard’s father, Jean Leon Arnault, owned a civil engineering company named Ferret-Savinel. After completing his school education in Roubaix, Bernard went to Ecole Polytechnique in Palaiseau, France. Bernard graduated with an Engineering degree in 1971 and joined his father’s business to expand its horizons.
Although Bernard was new in the business world, he proved himself with his exceptional strategies and expertise. He advised his father to dissolve the construction division to gain more profits. His advice of investing in the real estate industry worked wonders and helped the family to grow their business.
Showcasing some excellent business skills, Bernard moved up in the ranks of the company. He became the CEO of the company in 1971 and held the position of Director in 1979 in the same company. Bernard and his family were forced to move to the US in 1981 but that did not impact the profitability of the company.
When Bernard Arnault returned to France in 1983, he got the opportunity to associate with Antonie Bernheim, who was the managing partner of Lazard Freres. It was Antonie who funded Bernard’s purchase of Boussac. At that time, Bernard also invested in the brand Christian Dior and became its CEO in 1985. In the golden year of 1989, Bernard Arnault invested in the LVMH company and the rest is history. With his vision and expertise in the industry, Bernard makes LVMH an ultimate King of the luxury industry. And since then he is the CEO and Chairman of the company and holds the majority of the shares in LVMH.
Incepted in 1987, LVMH currently owns 75 luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Bulgari, Marc Jacobs, Loewe and many more. Bernard has built LVMH from a small clothing manufacturer to the largest conglomerate in luxury.
The company works in different luxury sectors such as Wine & Spirits, Perfumes & Cosmetics, Watches & Jewellery, Selective Retailing, Fashion & Leather Goods and many other activities. The Fashion and Leather Goods contribute majorly to the revenue of the company. The contribution of these sectors to the revenue of LVMH is:
- Fashion and Leather Goods: 37%
- Selective Retailing: 28%
- Wines And Spirits: 16%
- Perfumes And Cosmetics: 14%
- Watches And Jewellery: 5%
Showcasing the excellence of French creativity and design elegance, LVMH becomes the absolute emblem of luxury and craftsmanship. Currently, LVMH is the world’s biggest luxury company with a prosperous fortune. One of the most prominent reasons behind the success of LVMH is its exceptional acquisition strategies.
LVMH Group acquired many renowned brands and that’s how the company grew over the period of time. LVMH made one of the biggest deals in the history of luxury brand acquisitions. It acquired brands like Sephora, Tag Heuer, The Gucci Group, Fendi, Tiffany & Co. and many others.
Philanthropic Works By Bernard Arnault
Bernard Arnault contributes generously to the upliftment of society. His company runs many Corporate Responsibility policies supporting the art and culture around the world. In 2019, LVMH donated around 200 million euros to Notre de Paris to restore the damaging effects of the horrific fire. The company also founded The Louis Vuitton Foundation which is a museum and cultural centre in Paris.
Apart from this, Bernard also donated $11 million in 2019 to fight the Amazon wildfires to save the world’s heritage treasure and one of the biggest forests in the world.
5 Interesting Facts About Bernard Arnault
- He is also known as “Wolf In Cashmere”.
- Bernard Arnault holds 97% stakes in Christian Dior.
- Along with LVMH, Bernard also owns an island in the Bahamas. The land spreads over 133 acres and is worth approximately $35 million.
- His company, LVMH, pledged to increase women’s presence in the boardroom and support gender equality.
- He is a big-time art lover who also has a collection of rare and antique artworks.