Bernard Arnault

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Bernard Arnault (born 5 March 1949 in Roubaix) is a French businessman. He is the 14th richest person in the world and France's richest person with an estimated net worth of $26 billion US dollars, according to a Forbes report in March 2007.

In 2007, Arnault was listed among Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in The World.

Mr Arnault is twice married, and the father of five children. His daughter Delphine Arnault is actively involved in the management of LVMH. His second wife, Hélène Mercier, is a pianist from Quebec. Mr Arnault is a noted art collector. Following the example of business man François Pinault, he created a Louis Vuitton foundation for contemporary art, which should open at the Jardin d'acclimatation in 2010.

Arnault was a witness at future President Nicolas Sarkozy's wedding to Cécilia Ciganer-Albéniz. He was also awarded the French Legion of Honor.
Arnault resides outside of Manhattan in New Rochelle, New York.

As of March 2007, Arnault owns a 47.5% plurality of LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton), along with Christian Dior SA and personnal holding company Groupe Arnault . Arnault is the Chairman and CEO of all three companies.

Mr Arnault's father, Jean Arnault, was an industrialist, and owner of a public works company, Ferret-Savinel.
After graduating from the Maxence Van Der Meersch high school, Bernard Arnault was admitted to the École Polytechnique (X1969) from which he graduated with an engineering degree in 1971. After graduation, Mr Arnault joined his father's company. In 1976, he convinced his father to liquidate the construction division of the company for 40 million francs, and to change the focus of company to real estate. Using the name Férinel, the new company develops a specialty holiday accommodation. In 1979, he succeeded his father as president of the company.

When socialist François Mitterand was elected President of France in 1981, Mr Arnault emigrated to the United States and created Ferinel Inc. Through this vehicle, Mr Arnault prospered, developing codominums in Palm Beach, Florida. Three years later, when the French Socialists switched to a more conservative economic course, Mr Arnault returned to France and became CEO of Financière Agache, a luxury goods company. With the help of Antoine Bernheim, managing partner of the Banque Lazard investment firm, and government subsidies conferred in exchange for a promise not to downsize, Mr Arnault acquired Boussac, a textile company in turmoil. The Arnault family put up just $15 million of their own money, with Lazard supplying the rest of the reported $80 million purchase price. Mr Arnault sold nearly all the company's assets, keeping only the prestigious Christian Dior brand, and Le Bon Marché department store.
In 1987, shortly after the creation of LVMH, Mr Arnault exploited a growing conflict between Alain Chevalier, Moët Hennessy's CEO, and Henry Recamier, president of Louis Vuitton. The new group held property rights to Dior perfumes, which Mr Arnault craved to incorporate into Dior Couture. He created a holding company of which he owned 60% and Guinness, who had a distribution agreement with Moët-Hennessy, owned 40%. Following the October 1987 stock market crash, he capitalized on the lower quoted price and soon owned 43% of LVMH. He then consolidated his position by purging executives from both companies.

He has since then led the company through an ambitious development plan, turning it into the largest luxury group in the world, ahead of Swiss luxury giant Richemont.
More recently, Mr Arnault, through personal holding Groupe Arnault and associates at Colony have had their eye on Carrefour, a supermarket, buying into the company in March 2007.

Arnault also owned the art auction house Phillips de Pury & Company from 1999 to 2003.

Bernard Arnault

1 Comment:

  1. Homeschooler in Florida said...
    Bernard Arnault Junior - Can you tell us about him? I met him a few times. In the early 90s, he was running the interactive portion of LVHM, early webstuff and looking at PC & game products.....

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