Earlier today, Bloomberg announced that Bernard Arnault edged out renowned investor Warren Buffett as the third richest man in the world. Following news that Arnault’s company LVMH saw its stock increase by 2.9%, Arnault’s net worth climbed to a nice round $100.4 billion (£79.54 billion) by Bloomberg’s estimations - toppling Buffett’s estimated $82.5 billion.
The announcement sees the LVMH chairman and CEO join the world’s richest man Jeff Bezos (valued at $119 billion by Bloomberg following his divorce settlement with MacKenzie Bezos) and Bill Gates ($106 billion) at the very top of the rich list. Bloomberg reported that Arnault’s wealth “now equals more than 3% of France’s economy”, thanks to his massive shares in LVMH as well as a 97% stake in Christian Dior.
From engineer to the ultimate name in luxury, here's how Arnault made his billions.
Who is LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault?
Described by Forbes as “one of the world’s ultimate taste-makers,” Bernard Arnault is the CEO and chairman of luxury goods company LVMH, which oversees a number of iconic brands including Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Dom Perignon Champagne and Sephora.
Arnault’s father was a construction magnate and Arnault worked in engineering until he purchased an umbrella company in 1985 which owned Christian Dior. At the time, he bought it with $15 million from his father’s construction business and sold all the other businesses within the umbrella company.
According to Bloomberg, Arnault then purchased a controlling stake in LVMH in 1988 with the money. Arnault has been chairman and CEO of the company since 1989 and is set to celebrate his thirtieth anniversary in the role this year.
Recently, LVMH brought on Rihanna to create a luxury fashion line named Fenty and she made history as the first black female fashion designer to lead a fashion brand at the company.
Rihanna revealed that she "still couldn't believe it" when speaking to The New York Times.
Arnault said in a statement, "Everybody knows Rihanna as a wonderful singer, but through our partnership at Fenty Beauty, I discovered a true entrepreneur, a real CEO and a terrific leader."
Beyond Rihanna, another name closer to Arnault’s heart is his daughter Delphine, who serves as executive vice president at Louis Vuitton.
What is Bernard Arnault's net worth?
In March, Arnault overtook Warren Buffett to become the third-richest person in the world.
Over the past year, Arnault’s personal fortune has increased by $31.8 billion and Bloomberg reported that LVMH’s stock value has increased by 43% over the same time period (valued at 368.80 Euros per share). Last year, they also reported LVMH made 46.8 billion Euros last year thanks to a surge of interest in Chinese markets.
Following the fire at Notre Dame, he pledged to donate 200 million Euros towards the reconstruction of the French landmark alongside other wealthy figures, including Kering boss François-Henri Pinault.
LVMH released a statement at the time, which read, “The Arnault family and the LVMH group would like to show their solidarity at this time of national tragedy, and are joining up to help rebuild this extraordinary cathedral, which is a symbol of France, of its heritage and of French unity.”
However, a Notre Dame senior press official told Bloomberg earlier this year that the “big donors haven’t paid” yet. The spokesperson said, “They want to know what exactly their money is being spent on and if they agree to it before they hand it over, and not just to pay employees’ salaries.”