Bernard Arnault: Chairman & CEO of LVMH

Megha Rani Megha Rani
Apr 9, 2021 5 min read
Bernard Arnault: Chairman & CEO of LVMH

Bernard Arnault is a French billionaire businessman and an art collector. He is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the world's largest luxury-goods company, LVMH Moet Hennessy- Louis Vuitton SE. He also serves as the Chairman of the French luxury goods company, Christian Dior SE. Both the companies are interconnected as Dior itself holds 42.36% shares of and 59.01% voting rights within LVMH. He became the richest person in fashion in April 2018. He briefly surpassed Jeff Bezos to become the world's richest person in December 2019. He again became the world's richest person for a short period in January 2020.

Bernard Arnault - Biography

Name Bernard Jean Etienne Arnault
Born 5 March, 1949
Birthplace Roubaix, France
Age 72 (2021)
Nationality French
Education Ecole Polytechnique, Palaiseau
Profession Businessman; Media proprietor; Art Collector
Position Chairman & CEO at LVMH; Chairman of Christian Dior SE
Net worth $160.8 billion (March 2021)
Father Jean Leon Arnault
Mother Marie-Josephe Savinel
Spouse Anne Dewavrin (1973-1990); Helene Mercier (since 1991)
Children 5

Bernard Arnault - Personal Life
Bernard Arnault - Education
Bernard Arnault - Professional Life
Bernard Arnault - Chairman of Christian Dior
Bernard Arnault - Chairman & CEO of LVMH
Bernard Arnault - Art Collector
Bernard Arnault - Honors & Awards


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Bernard Arnault - Personal Life

Bernard was born in Roubaix, France. His father, Jean Leon Arnault was a manufacturer. His mother, Marie-Joseph Savinel was intrigued by Dior brand. He married Annie Dewavrin in 1973 and they had two children, Delphine and Antoine. After getting divorced, he married Helene Mercier who was a Canadian concert pianist. They had three children and the family currently lives in Paris, France.

Bernard Arnault - Education

Bernard studied from Lycee Maxence Van Der Meersch in Roubaix. He was later enrolled in Lycee Faidherbe in Lille. He completed his graduation from the leading school of France Ecole Polytechnique in 1971.

Bernard Arnault - Professional Life

Bernard started his professional career after completing his studies. In 1973, he joined his father's company, Ferret Savinel. He served as the President of the company from 1978-1984. He was a member of the Board of Advisors of the Malaysian 1MDB fund from 2010 to 2013.

He acquired many companies including, Celine, Berluti, Kenzo, Guerlain, and Loewe. He also purchased the French economic newspapers, La Tribune and Les Echos.

He is a brilliant Investor as well. He had invested in major companies like, Zebank, Boo.com, Libertysurf, Netflix, Colony Capital, Carrefour, Princess Yachts, Royal van Lent. As a Philanthropist, he and his family pledged to donate €200 million for the reconstruction of Notre-Dame cathedral after a fire. In 2019, he and his son finalized a donation of €100 million.


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Bernard Arnault - Chairman of Christian Dior

Christian Dior Logo

Bernard acquired a luxury goods company in 1984 with the help of Lazard Freres. He then became the CEO of the acquired company, Financiere Agache.

Gradually, he took control over the textile company, Boussac Saint-Freres, which owned Christian Dior, Le Bon Marche, Conforama, and Peaudoce. He sold all the company's assets and kept only the Christian Dior brand and Le Bon Marche department store.

Bernard Arnault - Chairman & CEO of LVMH

LVMH Logo

Bernard spent $1.5 billion to establish a holding company with Guinness that had 24% of LVMH's share. He again provided $600 million to acquire 13.5% more of LVMH and became the largest share holder of LVMH. Gradually, he acquired 43.5% of LVMH's shares and 35% of its voting rights.

He was unanimously elected chairman of LVMH on 13 January, 1989. He has significantly transformed it into one of the largest luxury groups in the world. Under his leadership, the company's sales and profit grew by a factor of 5 and 15 times of the market value of LVMH.

Bernard Arnault - Art Collector

Bernard was a young fashion designer and he used to collect art pieces. His collection include, Picasso, Yves Klien, Henry Moore and Andy Warhol. His art collecting habit made LVMH a major patron of art in France. He created an international competition, open to students from fine arts schools. Every year, the winner is bestowed with a grant to support the creation of designer's own label with a year of mentorship.

He owned an auction house, Philips de pury & Company from 1998 to 2003. Along with that, he bought the first French auctioneer, Tajan. In 2006, he introduced a project dedicated to the creation and contemporary art. The project was named Louis Vuitton Foundation and its building was inaugurated on 20 October, 2014.


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Bernard Arnault - Honors & Awards

  • On 10 February 2007, he received Commandeur de la Legion d'Honneur
  • On 14 July, 2011, he was conferred with the Grand Officer de la Legion d'Honneur
  • In 2011, he received the Woodrow Wilson Award for Global Corporate Citizenship
  • In 2012, he was awarded the Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
  • In March 2014, he received the Museum of Modern Art's David Rockefeller Award

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

Who is Bernard Arnault?

Bernard Arnault is a French billionaire businessman and an art collector. He is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the world's largest luxury-goods company, LVMH Moet Hennessy- Louis Vuitton SE.

What does LVMH stand for?

LVMH stands for MoΓ«t Hennessy Louis Vuitton.

Who is the richest French person?

Bernard Arnault is the richest French person and the 3rd richest person in the world. The net worth of Bernard Arnault is $168.7B as of April 2021.

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