The chairman and CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton overtook Elon Musk as the world’s richest man last December.
In addition to this, Bernard Arnault’s LVMH—the world’s largest luxury products company—is now worth more than Musk’s Tesla. Musk’s net worth has dropped over $180 billion, breaking the world record for the largest loss of wealth in history.
Meanwhile, the French conglomerate has been relatively steady, only dropping 2.5% in 2022. LVMH’s market capitalization is now at $389 billion, compared to Tesla’s $339 billion.
Arnault’s net worth is currently at $204 billion according to Forbes’ Real-Time Billionaires List.
So who is Bernard Arnault? He was born in 1949 in Roubaix, a city in northern France and graduated from the prestigious engineering school, École Polytechnique.
The French businessman began his career at Ferret-Savinel, the construction company owned by his father. Arnault became the company’s president from 1978 to 1984.
In 1984, he bought control of the textile group Boussac Saint-Freres, which also owned the French fashion house Christian Dior.
Following the success of his acquisition, Arnault bought a stake in LVMH, formed by the merger between Moët Hennessy and Louis Vuitton.
The luxury goods powerhouse has about 75 labels selling products, from wine and perfume to fashion and jewelry. In January 2021, the group acquired the iconic jeweler Tiffany & Co for $15.8 billion.
The LVMH group is a patron of arts and culture. In 2019, Arnault promised to donate $226 million for the restoration of Notre Dame, following the massive fire that destroyed parts of the historic Paris cathedral.
“In the wake of this national tragedy, the Arnault family and the LVMH Group pledge their support for #NotreDame. They will donate a total of 200 million euros to the fund for reconstruction of this architectural work, which is an integral part of the history of France.” pic.twitter.com/utvJT8xJht
— LVMH (@LVMH) April 16, 2019
Arnault has been Europe’s richest person for a long while but has just been keeping a lower profile than Musk.
All five of Arnault’s children are currently working at LVMH and its other brands.
Banner photo via Twitter @LVMH.