Bernard Jean Étienne Arnault is a French billionaire business magnate, and art collector. Arnault is the chairman and chief executive of LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton SE, LVMH, the world’s largest luxury-goods company. He is one of the richest people in the world with a net worth of $109 billion, since November 2019. In April 2018, he became the richest person in fashion, topping Zara’s Amancio Ortega.
Bernard Arnault was born in the northern French town of Roubaix in 1949. After graduating with an engineering degree from Ecole Polytechnique in Paris, he joined his family’s company and persuaded his father to exit its construction business and focus on real estate.
Arnault entered the luxury goods market in 1984, when he took over the bankrupt textile group that owned Christian Dior. He sold all of the company’s other businesses and used the proceeds to buy a controlling stake in LVMH. Other acquisitions include Fendi, TAG Heuer and Bulgari. He sought and failed to buy auction house Sotheby’s and retailer Gucci, which he lost to rival billionaire Francois Pinault in 2010.
LVMH agreed to relinquish its 23 percent stake in Hermes to its shareholders in September 2014, ending a four-year battle to gain control of the luxury label. He remained its biggest individual shareholder until July 2017, when he sold most of his shares as part of a $13.2 billion deal to consolidate his control of Christian Dior.
The billionaire lives on Paris’s Left Bank with his second wife, concert pianist Helene Mercier. His art collection of modern and contemporary paintings includes pieces by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Damien Hirst, Maurizio Cattelan, Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso.
Arnault sparked a debate over taxation in France in 2012 when Belgium’s government disclosed that he was seeking to become a Belgian citizen. Arnault said he intended to still pay taxes in France. His request was aimed at safeguarding a foundation he’d established in Belgium to “protect the financial interests and wealth” of his heirs. In April 2013, he withdrew his application as “a gesture of my attachment to France and my faith in its future.”
Sat, Mar 5th, 1949
École Polytechnique, Palaiseau
LVMH - Chairman and CEO
Christian Dior SE - Chairman
Financière Agache holding company - , (1984-1989)
Ferret-Savinel construction company - Chairman, (1978-1984)