Bernard Jean Étienne Arnault born 5 March 1949 is a French business magnate, investor, and art collector. He is the chairman and chief executive of LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton SE, the world’s largest luxury goods company. Arnault is, as of May 2022, the third-richest person in the world and the richest person from Europe, with an estimated net worth of US $160 billion according to Forbes.
His mother, Marie-Josèphe Savinel, daughter of Étienne Savinel, had a “fascination for Dior”. His father, manufacturer Jean Léon Arnault, a graduate of École Centrale Paris, owned the civil engineering company Ferret-Savinel.
Bernard Arnault is the Chairman and CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of the French luxury goods company LVMH Group (LVMH Meet Hennessy – Louis Vuitton SE). LVMH is the world’s largest luxury goods manufacturer. If we talk about Arnault’s wealth, then on May 27, he had left behind Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man. This means, equal to the GDP of nine big states of India.
Full Name – Bernard Jean Etienne Arnault
Born – March 5, 1949, France
Citizenship – France
Mother- Marie-Joseph Sentinel
Father – Jean Leon Arnault
Wife Annie Devavrin (1973 – div.1990)
Helen Mercier (1991- ..)
Children – Five (Delphine, Antonio, Alexander, Frederick, and Jean)
Assets – about $190 billion
Early Life & Education –
Bernard was born on March 5, 1949, in the city of Rube, France, his father’s name was Jean-Léon Arnault, and his mother’s name was Marie-Joseph Savinel. Bernard’s father was a civil engineer. He was the owner of a civil engineering company Ferret-Savin, he completed his early education from “Lizzie Maxence van der Meersho” and he completed his graduation from “Ecole Polytechnique”.
Professional Career –
Bernard Arnault took over his father’s company Ferret-Sevin. Bernard began his career in his father’s company, Ferret-Savin, in 1971 and was president of the company from 1978 to 1984.
In 1984, Arnault learned that the French government was looking to hire someone for the clothing and retail conglomerate Christian Dior. In view of this, Arnault acquired the luxury goods company financier Agache and also became the CEO of the company.
Personal Life –
Arnault married Annie Devvarin in 1973, with whom he had two children, Delphine and Antoine Arnault.
Bernard and Annie’s relationship lasted only 12 years, in 1990 both of them decided to get divorced and separated from each other.
In 1991, Bernard married Canadian pianist Helen Mercier, with Helen they have 3 children, Alexander, Frederick, and Jean Arnault.
Their children are working in key positions in LVMH, and give their support to the company.
When did Bernard Arnault come into the limelight?
By the way, Bernard Arnault is a big name in France and Europe. But he became more known all over the world in the year 2018, when he became the richest man in the fashion sector in April 2018. He left behind his rival Amancio Ortega of Spain, Amancio Ortega the owner of Germany’s famous fashion accessories manufacturer Zara.
The year 2020 was also a very beneficial year for Bernard in terms of wealth, but 2021 did something amazing for him. On 24 May 2021, Bernard again briefly surpassed Jeff Bezos to hold the title of the world’s richest man with a net worth of $186.3 million. The reason for such an increase in their wealth was the tremendous demand for LVMH goods in China and in other parts of Asia.
Why did Bernard Arnault want to leave France?
In 2013, news came that caused a stir in the whole of France, according to this news Bernard Arnault had applied for Belgian citizenship and he was considering relocating to Belgium itself. In April 2013, Bernard Arnault denied the news, saying that his work was unfairly presented to the world, he would never leave France, he would always be a permanent citizen of France, and would continue to pay taxes to the government. He also informed me that the application made him for Belgian citizenship has been withdrawn.
Reason for applying for Belgian citizenship: Bernard Arnault, while presenting his explanation on this matter, said that he had applied for Belgian citizenship so that he could operate and protect the empire he created in a better way. Can you This would have helped LVMH Group to be always dynamic and always honest to the customers.
People believed that perhaps the increased taxes in France at that time were also the reason for Arnold to apply for Belgian citizenship.
On 7 March 2011, Arnault announced the acquisition of 50.4% of family-owned shares of the Italian jeweler Bulgari, with the intention to make a tender offer for the rest, which was publicly owned. The transaction was worth $5.2 billion. In 2011, Arnault invested $640 million in establishing LCapitalAsia.On 7 March 2013, National Business Daily reported that mid-priced clothing brand QDA would open stores with the assistance of Arnault’s private equity firm LCapitalAsia and Chinese apparel company Xin Hee Co., Ltd. in Beijing. In February 2014, Arnault entered into a joint venture with the Italian fashion brand Marco De Vincenzo, taking a minority 45% stake in the firm. In April 2017, Arnault announced the acquisition of Christian Dior haute couture, leather, both men’s and women’s ready-to-wear, and footwear lines, which integrated the entire Christian Dior brand within LVMH.
By January 2018, Arnault had led the company to record sales of 42.6 billion Euros in 2017, 13% over the previous year, as all divisions turned in strong performances. That same year, the net profit increased by 29%. In November 2019, Arnault planned to acquire Tiffany & Co. for approximately US $16.2 billion. The deal was expected to close by June 2020. LVMH then issued a statement in September 2020 indicating that the takeover would not proceed and that the deal was “invalid” because of Tiffany’s handling of the business during the COVID-19 pandemic. Subsequently, Tiffany filed suit against LVMH, asking the court to compel the purchase or to assess damages against the defendant; LVMH planned to counter sue, alleging that mismanagement had invalidated the purchase agreement. In mid-September 2020, a reliable source told Forbes (magazine) that the reason for Arnault’s decision to cancel the Tiffany purchase was purely financial: Tiffany was paying millions in dividends to shareholders despite a financial loss of US$32 million during the pandemic. Upon examination of financial records, Arnault discovered that some US$70 million had already been paid out by Tiffany, with an additional US$70 million scheduled to be paid in November 2020. LVMH filed a counterclaim against the court action commenced by Tiffany; a statement issued by LMVH blamed Tiffany’s mismanagement during the pandemic and claimed that it was “burning cash and reporting losses”. In late October 2020, Tiffany and LVMH agreed to the original takeover plan, though at a slightly reduced price of nearly $16 billion, a minor reduction of 2.6% from the aforementioned deal. The new deal reduced the amount paid per share by LVMH from the original price of $135 to $131.50. LVMH completed the purchase of Tiffany in January 2021.
Under Arnault’s leadership, LVMH has grown to become the largest company by market capitalization in the Eurozone, with a record of 313 billion euros ($382 billion) as of May 2021. Arnault has promoted decisions toward decentralizing the group’s brands as a business strategy. As a result of these measures, brands under the LVMH umbrella such as Tiffany are still viewed as independent firms with their own history. For a very brief period on 24 May 2021, Arnault temporarily became the richest man in the world, surpassing Jeff Bezos with a net worth of 187.3 billion dollars. A few hours later, however, Amazon stock ticked up and Jeff Bezos reclaimed the spot.
Bernard Arnault’s name came to the fore when his net worth exceeded Bill Gates’s net worth on 20 June 2019 and he became the second richest person in the world, surpassing Bill Gates. But within a few days, Bill Gates had come to his place. On July 27, 2019, Bernard Arnault’s net worth was $103.3 billion i.e. around Rs 7,18,980 crore and Bill Gates’s net worth was $104.7 billion. In March 2019, Bernard Arnault surpassed Berkshire Hathway chairman Warren Buffet to become the third richest person in the world.
Bernard Arnault was born into a business family on 5 March 1949 in Roubaix, France. He is a French businessman and investor and since 1989, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of ‘LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton’ Company and Main Shareholder of this company. After high school, he studied engineering at Ecole Polytechnique in 1971. After graduation, he started working in the civil engineering ‘Ferret Savinel’ company of his father ‘Jean Leon Arnault’.
And they began to grow the company rapidly. In 1976, he convinced his father to liquidate the construction division of the company, that is, to sell some of the company’s stake. With which he earned 40 million French Francs and he used this money in the Booming Sector – Real Estate of that time. After this, he named his company ‘Ferinel’.
Today, the French businessman whose net worth is 3% of the GDP of France, had to leave the country once.
After the French Socialists came to power in 1981, the Arnault family was forcibly expelled from the country and then they moved to the United States. And started planning to start a family business branch in the US. In 1983, there was a political scenario change in France and he returned to France again.
After coming back to the country, he started investing heavily in the Lucrative (Beneficial) businesses.
During this time he started buying companies and became the owner of Christian Dior Brand & Le Bon Marche Department Store in 1985 Dior also became CEO of the company. His company LVMH- does business in Fashion & Leather Goods. The company’s revenue this year is $11.6 billion. Which has increased by 21% in the last year’s comparison.
In 1987, LVMH company came into the market, he bought a lot of shares of this company and became the first shareholder of the company. As of July 27, he has about 48% shareholding of LVMH Company. This company sells luxury things worldwide. In the 90s, he bought many companies like Perfume Firm Guerlain(1994), Loewe(1996), Marc Jacobs(1997), Sephora(1997) & Thomas Pink(1990).
In April 2019, the company acquired Luxury Hotel & Restaurant Group Belmond for $3.2 billion. According to the list of Forbes, his net worth is 3% of the GDP of France. They have 75 brands of this company, and they have 4590 stores worldwide.
In 1998, businessman Albert Frère purchased Château Cheval Blanc in a personal capacity. LVMH acquired Arnault’s share in 2009 to add to the group’s other wine property Château d’Yquem.
From 1998 to 2001, Arnault invested in a variety of web companies such as Boo.com, Libertysurf, and Zebank through his holding Europatweb. Groupe Arnault also invested in Netflix in 1999.
In 2007, Blue Capital announced that Arnault owns jointly with the California property firm Colony Capital 10.69% of France’s largest supermarket retailer and the world’s second-largest food distributor Carrefour.
In 2008, he entered the yacht business and bought Princess Yachts for 253 million euros. He subsequently took control of Royal van Lent for an almost identical amount.
Arnault was educated at the Lycée Maxence Van Der Meersch in Roubaix, and the Lycée Faidherbe in Lille. In 1971, he graduated from the École Polytechnique, France’s leading engineering school, and began work for his father’s company. Three years later, after he convinced his father to shift the focus of the company to real estate, Ferret-Savinel sold the industrial construction division and was renamed Ferinel. Following the acquisition of a textile company and relocation of their headquarters, the company renamed the real estate branch to the George V Group. The real estate assets were later sold to Compagnie Générale des Eaux (CGE), eventually becoming Nexity.
Arnault began his career in 1971, at Ferret-Savinel, and was its president from 1978 to 1984. In 1984, Arnault, then a young real estate developer, heard that the French government was set to choose someone to take over the Boussac Saint-Frères empire, a textile and retail conglomerate that owned Christian Dior.
With the help of Antoine Bernheim, a senior partner of Lazard Frères, Arnault acquired the Financière Agache, a luxury goods company. He became the CEO of Financière Agache and subsequently won the bidding war for Boussac Saint-Frères, buying the group for a ceremonial one franc and effectively taking control of Boussac Saint-Frères. Along with Christian Dior, Boussac’s assets included the department store Le Bon Marché, the retail shop Conforama, and the diapers manufacturer Peaudouce.
After Arnault bought Boussac, he laid off 9,000 workers in two years, after which he acquired the nickname “The Terminator”. He then sold nearly all of the company’s assets, keeping only the Christian Dior brand and Le Bon Marché department store. By 1987, the company was profitable again and booked earnings of $112 million on a revenue stream of $1.9 billion dollars.
Arnault’s collection includes works by Picasso, Yves Klein, Henry Moore, and Andy Warhol. He was also instrumental in establishing LVMH as a major patron of art in France. The LVMH Young Fashion Designer was created as an international competition open to students from fine-arts schools. Every year, the winner is awarded a grant to support the creation of the designer’s own label and with a year of mentorship. From 1999 to 2003, he owned Phillips de Pury & Company, an art auction house, and bought out the first French auctioneer, Tajan. In 2006, Arnault started the building project of the Louis Vuitton Foundation. Dedicated to the creation and contemporary art, the building was designed by the architect Frank Gehry. The Foundation’s grand opening at the Jardin d’Acclimatation Paris was held on 20 October 2014.
Commandeur de la Légion d’Honneur (10 February 2007)
Grand Officier de la Légion d’Honneur (14 July 2011)
The Woodrow Wilson Award for Global Corporate Citizenship (2011)
Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (2012)
The Museum of Modern Art’s David Rockefeller Award (March 2014)