Bernard Arnault is a French business tycoon. He is also one of the most influential tastemaker in the world. The largest luxury-products company LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, known as LVMH is chaired by him. Mr. Arnault is also the CEO and main shareholder of this company.
Bernard Arnault was born as Bernard Jean Étienne Arnault in Roubaix, France. His date of birth is 5 March 1949. His mother’s name was Marie-Josephe Savinel. His father Jean Leon Arnault worked as a manufacturer. He possessed a civil engineering company, named Ferret-Savinel. Arnault studied in Maxence Van Der Meersch High School in Roubaix. After finishing his schooling he admitted to the prestigious École Polytechnique. In 1971, he graduated with a degree in engineering.
His professional career began in the same year of his graduation. He started to work in his family company. Becoming the company’s president in 1979, he played an important part. Though he went to America but the circumstances there were not liked by him, so he returned to his native country. Then he joined ‘Financière Agache’, a company which dealt with luxury goods.
Arnault owned another company named ‘Boussac’. It owned other brands such as Christian Dior, Conforama, Peaudouce. It also owned a department store named Le Bon Marche. Mr. Arnault made his initial focus on Chiristian Dior. Later in 1985 he became the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company. There he gained the department of fashion and perfume in 1989.
Being very business oriented, Arnault knew that owing Dior would provide him a grasp over the luxury market. He started to sell a number of divisions of the Boussac Company. As it had no connections with the luxury good market that would pursue his purpose of controlling the luxury market. Those money were used to buy shares of LVMH. For the sake of creating new trends and creativity, he called off some managing executives from their positions. He also appointed John Galliano as a new designer.
These steps built a strong base on which he could construct a successful future for LVMH. He was still buying more brands in the decade of 90s. As for example TAG Heuer, Sephora, Givenchy and several wine and spirit brands. The economic transformation in the 21st century had made many difficulties. As people became less interested to spend on luxury goods as earlier. This situation created a hefty amount of loss to LVMH. But Bernard Arnault kept his determination and resilience. Though some brands had to lessen their expansion, Arnault managed to hold on most of the prominent brands of the industry.
Currently having net worth of US$100.4 billion, Bernard Arnault is the 4th richest man in the world. He is also a passionate art collector. He has in possession of several pieces by Yves Klein, Henry Moore, Andy Warhol and Picasso. He was also the keeper of ‘Phillips de Pury & Company’ and auction house from 1999 till 2003.
Mr. Arnault has achieved many honors and awards including the title ‘Commander of the French Legion of Honor’ in 2007. In 2011 he was given a promotion. This made him the dignity of Grand Officer of the French Legion of Honor. In that same year, he was presented with the Corporate Citizenship award from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Bernard Arnault was also made an honorary knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2012.
Bernard Arnault has been married two times. First he was married to Anne Dewavrin from 1973 to 1990. The couple had two children, Delphine and Antoine. Later in 1991, Arnault married second time, Hélène Mercier, a Canadian pianist from Quebec. They have three sons, Alexandre, Frédéric, and Jean.
The LMVH has participated into a number of charitable works. Bernard Arnault’s company patronizes humanitarian, scientific and medical research organizations. Some of those organizations are Save the Children, the Foundation for Hospitals in Paris and the Princess Grace of Monaco Foundation.