The richest person in the world keeps getting richer.
We are talking about Bernard Arnault, Chairman and CEO of LVMH MC,
the French corporation specializing in luxury goods. His net worth rose to $210 billion this week, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a gain of $11.6 billion after LVMH shares rose following a strong first-quarter sales report quarter
Arnault now has a considerable lead over Elon Musk, once the richest person in the world. Musk’s fortune stands at $180 billion, according to Bloomberg’s count.
But while we seem to know a lot about Musk, from his penchant for keeping guns by his bedside to his surprise appearance on a Dave Chappelle show to his frequent attempts at irreverent humor on Twitter, Arnault , 74 years old, on the other hand, keeps a low profile.
Still, it’s not like the French native has completely escaped the public eye. Here are five things we found out about him…
Even if you don’t know Bernard Arnault, you know LVMH products
LVMH is a global leader with many well-known luxury names (or “houses”) in its portfolio. Start with the fashion company Louis Vuitton (the “LV” of LVMH), but also add other high-fashion brands like Fendi, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs and Christian Dior. Then switch to the realm of wines and spirits: the Moët Hennessy (or “MH”) side of the company, which includes such notable names as Dom Pérignon Champagne, Glenmorangie Scotch and, yes, Hennessy Cognac. But the LVMH empire also includes brands of perfumes, cosmetics, watches and jewelry, not to mention a legendary Parisian patisserie. LVMH also acquired Tiffany for $15.8 billion in 2021.
But Bernard Arnault didn’t start out in the luxury business
He studied at an engineering school in France and then worked in his father’s manufacturing company, which eventually moved into the real estate business. But Arnault found his way into the world of retail and fashion when he acquired a French company, Agache-Willot-Boussac, in the 1980s and later turned it into a “treasure,” according to the New York Times. Arnault worked with others to establish LVMH in the late 1980s, and before long became the company’s majority shareholder and chairman.
It has its own “Succession” style family drama.
Arnault is married and has five children, all of whom hold senior positions at LVMH. There has been much speculation about which child could take the reins of the company, although Antoine Arnault, the son who was named chief executive of Christian Dior earlier this year, has been cited as a potential frontrunner.
He once owned a plane worth at least $73 million
Talk about flying in style. Arnault once owned a jet, the Bombardier 7500, which includes four living spaces, an entertainment room and a kitchen full of everything from two ovens to an induction cooktop, according to an Insider account . And the price of a first-class flying machine actually starts at $73 million. But Arnault sold the plane after Twitter accounts began tracking his flights. He is now said to be chartering planes to fly under the radar so to speak while on the move.
It has a supportive side
Arnault’s most notable gift, at least lately, has been to the Fondation Notre Dame, the organization working to restore the fire-damaged cathedral in Paris. His contribution was 200 million euros, equivalent to about 213 million current dollars.