Bernard Jean Étienne Arnault (French: [bɛʁnaʁ ʒɑ̃ etjɛn aʁno]; born 5 March 1949) is a French billionaire business magnate, and art collector. Arnault is the chairman and chief executive of LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton SE, LVMH, the world's largest luxury-goods company. He is the richest person in Europe and the third-richest person in the world, with a net worth of $106.6 billion, as of November 2019. In April 2018, he became the richest person in fashion, topping Zara's Amancio Ortega.
Arnault in 2017
Bernard Jean Étienne Arnault
5 March 1949
|Alma mater||École Polytechnique, Palaiseau|
|Occupation||Entrepreneur, investor, art collector, media proprietor|
|Net worth||US$106.6 billion (November 2019)|
|Title||Chairman and CEO, LVMH|
Chairman, Christian Dior SE
(m. 1973; div. 1990)
Hélène Mercier (m. 1991)
After graduation in 1971, Arnault joined his father's company. In 1976, he convinced his father to liquidate the construction division of the company for 40 million French francs and to change the focus of the company to real estate. Using the name Férinel, the new company developed a specialty in holiday accommodation. Named the Director of Company Development in 1974, he became the CEO in 1977. In 1979, he succeeded his father as president of the company.
In 1984, with the help of Antoine Bernheim, a senior partner of Lazard Frères, Arnault acquired the Financière Agache, a luxury goods company. He became the CEO of Financière Agache and subsequently took control of Boussac Saint-Frères, a textile company in turmoil. Boussac owned Christian Dior, the department store Le Bon Marché, the retail shop Conforama, and the diapers manufacturer Peaudouce. He 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, the brand new luxury group resulting from the merger between two companies, Arnault mediated a conflict between Alain Chevalier, Moët Hennessy's CEO, and Henri Racamier, president of Louis Vuitton. The new group held property rights to Dior perfumes that Arnault believed should be incorporated into Dior Couture.
In July 1988, Arnault provided $1.5 billion to form a holding company with Guinness that held 24% of LVMH's shares. In response to rumors that the Louis Vuitton group was buying LVMH's stock to form a "blocking minority", Arnault spent $600 million to buy 13.5% more of LVMH, making him LVMH's largest shareholder. In January 1989, he spent another $500 million to gain control of a total of 43.5% of LVMH's shares and 35% of its voting rights, thus reaching the "blocking minority" that he needed to stop the dismantlement of the LVMH group. On 13 January 1989, he was unanimously elected chairman of the executive management board.
Since then, Arnault has led the company through an ambitious development plan, transforming it into one of the largest luxury groups in the world, alongside Swiss luxury giant Richemont and French-based Kering. In eleven years, the sales and profit rose by a factor of 5, and the market value of LVMH multiplied by 15. He promoted decisions towards decentralizing the group's brands. As a result of these measures, the brands are now viewed as independent firms with their own history.
Arnault's professional decisions support the idea that LVMH has "shared advantages" such as having the strong brands that help finance those that are still developing. The portfolio of major luxury brands has a history of stability, and thus its solidity allows for new acquisitions and group development. Because of this strategy, Christian Lacroix was able to open his own fashion house.
In July 1988, Arnault acquired Céline. In 1993, LVMH acquired Berluti and Kenzo. In the same year, Arnault bought out the French economic newspaper La Tribune. The company never achieved the desired success, despite his 150 million euro investment, and he sold it in November 2007 in order to buy a different French economic newspaper, Les Échos, for 240 million euros.
In 1994, LVMH acquired the perfume firm Guerlain. In 1996, Arnault bought out Loewe, followed by Marc Jacobs and Sephora in 1997. These brands were also integrated into the group: Thomas Pink in 1999, Emilio Pucci in 2000 and Fendi, DKNY and La Samaritaine in 2001.
In the 1990s, Arnault decided to develop a centre in New York to manage LVMH's presence in the United States. He chose Christian de Portzamparc to supervise this project. The result was the LVMH Tower that opened in December 1999.
In 2007, Blue Capital announced that Arnault owns jointly with the California property firm Colony Capital acquired 10.69% of France's largest supermarket retailer and the world's second-largest food distributor Carrefour.
The LVMH Young Fashion Designer was created as an international competition open to students from fine-arts schools. Every year, the winner is awarded a grant to support the creation of the designer's own label and with a year of mentorship.
In 2006, Arnault started the building project of the Louis Vuitton Foundation. Dedicated to creation and contemporary art, the building was designed by the architect Frank Gehry. The Foundation's grand opening at the Jardin d'Acclimatation Paris was held on 20 October 2014.
- Commandeur of the Légion d'Honneur (10 February 2007)
- Grand Officer of the Légion d'Honneur (14 July 2011)
- The Woodrow Wilson Award for Global Corporate Citizenship (2011)
- Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (2012)
- The Museum of Modern Art's David Rockefeller Award (March 2014)
His children Delphine, Antoine, Alexandre and Frédéric all have official roles in brands controlled by Arnault along with his niece Stephanie Watine Arnault.
Request for Belgian nationalityEdit
In 2013, it was disclosed that Arnault planned to apply for Belgian citizenship and was considering moving to Belgium. In April 2013, Arnault said that he had been misquoted and that he never intended to leave France: "I repeatedly said that I would stay as a resident in France and that I would continue to pay my taxes.... Today, I decided to remove any ambiguity. I withdraw my request of Belgian nationality. Requesting Belgian nationality was to better protect the foundation that I created with the sole purpose of ensuring the continuity and integrity of the LVMH group if I were to disappear." On 10 April 2013, Arnault announced that he had decided to abandon his application for Belgian citizenship, saying he did not want the move to be misinterpreted as a measure of tax evasion at a time when France faced economic and social challenges. Arnault also stated that several employees requested to leave France for tax purposes, that he declined their requests, and that "the 75% tax would not raise a lot of revenue but should prove less divisive now that it was set to be levied on firms rather than people and only due to stay in place for two years."
- "Forbes World's Billionaires List Real Time". Forbes.com. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
- "Bernard Arnault & family".
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- "Being Bernard Arnault". Nndb.com. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
- "LVMH's CEO Bernard Arnault Is Now The Richest Person in Fashion". Highsnobiety. 12 April 2018. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
- Steven Greenhouse, Pivotal Figure Emerges In Moet-Vuitton Feud, NYTimes, 19 September 1988
- Biography Bernard Arnault, Reference for Business
- Steven Greenhouse, A luxury fight to the finish, New York Times, 17 December 1989
- Steven Greenhouse, Pivotal Figure Emerges In Moet-Vuitton Feud, New York Times, 19 December 1988
- Jacques Neher, Intimacy Proves Too Much for Guinness, LVMH, New York Times, 21 January 1994
- Gwladys Fouché, La Tribune splash attacks paper's owner, The Guardian, 7 November 2007
- "VMH buys Les Echos from Pearson". BBC. 5 November 2007. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
- Heather Connon, Arnault expands perfume empire: LVMH buys controlling stake in Guerlain, The Independent, 30 April 1994
- LVMH says takes control of Spain's Loewe, Europolitics, 12 February 1996
- Lvmh: Life Isn't All Champagne And Caviar, Business Week, 9 November 1997
- Suzy Menkes, Bernard Arnault: Man Behind the Steely Mask, New York Times, 30 November 1999
- Julie V. Iovine, Designing The Nouveau Building On the Block, New York Times, 15 December 1999
- "Board of Advisors 1Malaysia Development Berhad". Archived from the original on 16 March 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
- "Board of Advisors 1Malaysia Development Berhad". Archived from the original on 24 September 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
- "Sidek appointed to 1MDB board". The Star Online. Kuala Lumpur. 30 July 2010. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
- Simon Rowe (19 June 2016). "Goldman Sachs, a Nama letter and the links to a $6bn fraud probe". Irish Independent. Dublin, Ireland. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
- NETFLIX.com Secures $30 Million Investment from Group Arnault Archived 7 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine, 7 July 1999
- Colony, Arnault Win Seats at Carrefour, DealBook, 30 April 2007
- Ben Harrington, Bernard Arnault plots new course for Princess Yachts, The Telegraph, 3 June 2008
- Aymeric Mantoux, Voyage au pays des ultra-riches, Éditions Flammarion Capital, 2010, ISBN 978-2-8104-0287-8, page 45
- Decanter (14 August 2009). "LVMH buys 50% share in Chateau Cheval Blanc". Decanter. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
-  Billionaire Arnault's family and LVMH to donate 200 mln euros for Paris' Notre-Dame, Reuters, 16 APRIL 2019
- "Billionaire Art Collectors". Forbes. 6 March 2002. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
- Hannah Elliott, In Luxury, Bernard Arnault Alone Makes the Most Powerful List, Forbes, 11 April 2010
- Julie Zeveloff (28 June 2012). "The 10 Biggest Art Collectors Of 2012". Businessinsider.com. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
- Scarlett Kilcooley-O'Halloran, Tait Takes LVMH Prize Vogue UK, 28 May 2014
- Sarah Jones, LVMH creates $400K design prize to cultivate young talent Luxury Daily, 12 November 2013
- "Phillips de Pury & Company". Phillipsdepury.com. Archived from the original on 14 May 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
- Aymeric Mantoux, Voyage au pays des ultra-riches, Éditions Flammarion Capital, 2010, ISBN 978-2-8104-0287-8, page 85.
- Alan Riding, Vuitton plans a Gehry-Designed Arts Center in Paris The New York Times, 3 October 2006
- David Chazan, Frank Gehry ‘Iceberg’ art gallery to open in Paris The Telegraph, 19 October 2014
- Lauren Milligan, Arnault Honour, Vogue, 18 July 2011
- Christy Stewart, Mr. Arnault Goes to Washington: LVMH Corporate Citizen, Business Insider, 9 May 2011
- Reuters Monday, 8 October 2012 (8 October 2012). "LVMH head Arnault to be knighted in London". Asiaone.com. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
- Lockwood, Lisa (19 February 2014). "Bernard Arnault to Be Honored at MoMA Luncheon". WWD. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
- Maza, Erik (4 March 2014). "Bernard Arnault Receives MoMa's David Rockefeller Award". WWD. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
- "Another Arnault Steps Into the Spotlight". Retrieved 26 July 2018.
- "Superyacht Amadeus". SuperYachtFan. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
- "Superyacht Symphony heading to sea". Archived from the original on 27 September 2017. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
- "France's deficit plan? Soak the rich". Usatoday.com. 9 October 2012. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
- "Bernard Arnault : "Je retire ma demande de nationalité belge"". AFP. 10 April 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
J'ai à plusieurs reprises expliqué que je resterais résident en France et que je continuerais d'y payer mes impôts. En vain: le message n'est passé. Aujourd'hui, j'ai décidé de lever toute équivoque. Je retire ma demande de nationalité belge.[...] Demander la nationalité belge visait à mieux protéger la fondation belge que j'ai créée, avec comme seul objectif d'assurer la pérennité et l'intégrité du groupe LVMH si je venais à disparaître et si mes ayants droit devaient ne pas s'entendre.
- "LVMH's Arnault Withdraws Belgian Citizenship Bid", Wall Street Journal, 10 April 2013
- "Bernard Arnault Withdraws Belgian Citizenship Bid". The Business of Fashion. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
- Being LVMH's Bernard Arnault- Profile story from WSJ Magazine
- A Guide to the Principal Holdings of Bernard Arnault also in WSJ Magazine