Bernard Arnault
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Bernard Arnault

Name :Bernard Jean Étienne Arnault
DOB :05 March 1949
(Age 74 Yr. )

Personal Life

Education Graduate
Religion Christian
Nationality France
Profession Business magnate, Media proprietor, Art collector
Place Roubaix,  France

Physical Appearance

Height 6 feet 1 inch
Weight 81 kg (approx.)
Eye Color Blue
Hair Color Grey



Father: Jean Leon Arnault

Mother: Marie Josephe Arnault

Marital Status Married
Spouse Anne Dewavrin(m:1973;div1990), Hélène Mercier ​(m. 1991)

Daughter: Delphine Arnault

Sons: Antoine Arnault, Frederic Arnault, Alexandre Arnault, Jean Arnault


Sister: Dominique Watine-Arnault


Color Blue
Place Paries
Food French cuisine

Bernard Jean Étienne Arnault  is a French business magnate, investor, and art collector. He is the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world's largest luxury goods company. Arnault and his family have an estimated net worth of US$240 billion as of April 2023, according to Forbes, making him the wealthiest person in the world.

Early life

Bernard Jean Étienne Arnault was born on 5 March 1949 in Roubaix. 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.


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 its 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.

1971-1987 Professional start

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 took 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 nappy 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.

1987-1989 Co-founding and acquisition of LVMH

He worked with Alain Chevalier, CEO of Moët Hennessy, and Henry Racamier, president of Louis Vuitton, to form LVMH in 1987.

In July 1988, Arnault provided $1.6 billion to form a holding company with Guinness that held 24% of LVMH's shares. In response to rumors that the Louis Vuitton group was buying LVMH's stock to form a "blocking minority", Arnault spent $600 million to buy 13.5% more of LVMH, making him LVMH's largest shareholder. LVMH had been created on the premise that the conglomerate would be too large for a single hostile raider. However, the premise failed to take into account internal takeover attempts. The fault became too large to ignore when Arnault had a differing strategic vision from Henry Racamier, Louis Vuitton's president.

In January 1989, he spent another $500 million to gain control of a total of 43.5% of LVMH's shares and 35% of its voting rights, thus reaching the "blocking minority" that he needed to stop the dismantlement of the LVMH group. He then turned on Racamier, stripped him of his power, and ousted him from the board of directors. On 13 January 1989, he was unanimously elected chairman of the executive management board.

1989-2001: LVMH Initial expansion and growth

After assuming leadership, Arnault led the company through an ambitious development plan, transforming it into one of the largest luxury groups in the world, alongside Swiss luxury giant Richemont and French-based Kering. In eleven years, annual sales and profit rose by a factor of 5, and the market value of LVMH increased by a factor of 15. In July 1988, Arnault acquired Céline. That same year, he sponsored French fashion designer Christian Lacroix to advertise the company's luxury clothing line. LVMH acquired Berluti and Kenzo in 1993, the same year Arnault bought out the French economic newspaper La Tribune. La Tribune never achieved the desired success, despite his 150 million euro investment, and he sold it in November 2007 to buy a different French economic newspaper, Les Échos, for €240 million.

In 1994, LVMH acquired the perfume firm Guerlain. In 1996, Arnault bought out Loewe, followed by Marc Jacobs and Sephora in 1997. Five more brands were also integrated into the group: Thomas Pink in 1999, Emilio Pucci in 2000 and Fendi, DKNY and La Samaritaine in 2001.

In the 1990s, Arnault decided to develop a center in New York to manage LVMH's presence in the United States. He chose Christian de Portzamparc to supervise this project. The result was the LVMH Tower that opened in December 1999. That same year, Arnault turned his eyes on Gucci, an Italian leather goods company, which was run by Tom Ford and Domenico De Sole. He discreetly amassed a 5 percent stake in the company before being detected. Gucci responded hostilely and called it a "creeping takeover." Upon being noticed, Arnault upped his stake to 34.4 percent while insisting he wanted to be a supportive and unassertive stakeholder. De Sole proposed that in return for board representation, Arnault would stop increasing his stake in Gucci. However, Arnault refused to accept these terms. De Sole discovered a loophole that allowed him to issue shares with only board approval, and for every share LVMH bought, he created more for his employees, diluting Arnault's stake. The fight dragged on until settlement in September 2001. After the legal ruling, LVMH sold its shares and walked away with $700 million in profit.

2001-present: Increasing success

In 2007, Blue Capital announced that Arnault owned 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.

From 2010 until 2013, Arnault was a member of the Board of Advisors of the Malaysian 1MDB fund.

On 7 March 2011, Arnault announced the acquisition of 50.4% of family-owned shares of the Italian jeweler Bulgari, to make a tender offer for the rest, which was publicly owned. The transaction was worth $5.2 billion. In 2011, Arnault invested $641 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 2016, LVMH sold DKNY to G-III Apparel Group. In April 2017, Arnault announced the acquisition of Christian Dior haute couture, leather, both men and women's ready-to-wear, and footwear lines, which integrated the entire Christian Dior brand within LVMH.

Art collection

Arnault's collection includes work by Picasso, Yves Klein, Henry Moore, and Andy Warhol. He was also instrumental in establishing LVMH as a significant 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 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.

Political Views

In the second round of the 2017 French presidential election, Arnault supported Emmanuel Macron. Brigitte Macron was the French teacher of Arnault's sons Frédéric and Jean when they were students at the Lycée Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague.

Awards and honours

Grand Officier of the Légion d'Honneur (France, 14 July 2011)
Commandeur of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France)
Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (Italy, 2006)
Medal of Pushkin (Russia, 2017)
Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (UK, 2012)
The Woodrow Wilson Award for Global Corporate Citizenship (2011)
The Museum of Modern Art's David Rockefeller Award (March 2014)

Tags : Founder
Readers : 695 Publish Date : 2023-04-21 12:30:22