Bernard Arnault, chairman of the French luxury goods giant LVMH (LVMHF), has become the first European to rise on Bloomberg’s list of the world’s richest people, leaving Elon Musk and second place.
Now worth $171 billion, Arnault’s wealth eclipsed the $164 billion fortune of the Tesla CEO on Tuesday, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Arnault has ousted Musk from the top spot on Forbes’ list of “Real Billionaires” last week.
Musk’s net worth has fallen by $107 billion this year, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Arnault’s wealth, which is based on his control of LVMH, has received a reduction of more than 7 billion dollars.
The difference in one side is down to the stock market of the company that the two pairs are limited to. Musk’s purchase of Twitter ( TWTR ) hasn’t helped. Still, he is not in imminent danger of falling off the list: his wealth is still better than that of Indian industrialist Gautam Adani ($125 billion) and Amazon (AMZN) founder Jeff Bezos ($116 billion), who is in third and fourth place. List of Bloomberg.
Although the price of Tesla (TSLA) has fallen 54% this year, LVMH stock remained stable, supported by strong markets in the United States and Europe. The luxury market has remained flat this year, even as rising prices have caused frugal consumers to change their spending habits. LVMH has a market value of 362.4 billion euros ($386).
Born in Roubaix in northern France in 1949, Arnault graduated from the prestigious Ecole Polytechnique, an engineering school in Paris. He began his career in the family construction company, Ferret-Savinel, becoming president in 1978 after a promotion.
Six years later, he got wind that the French government was looking for a new investor to take over Boussac Saint-Freres. A failed coat with a bow: Christian Dior, the celebrated French fashion house.
Arnault bought control of the group, returning it to profitability and embarking on a plan to build a leading global luxury company. “In the process, he promoted Christian Dior as the cornerstone of the new organization,” according to a biography on the LVMH website.
Arnault bought a controlling stake in LVMH in 1989, two years after the group was formed through the merger of Louis Vuitton and Moët Hennessy. He has been the company’s president and CEO ever since.
While his own name may not be immediately recognizable to many, the brands Arnault helped grow – from Christian Dior to Dom Pérignon – have become household names.
Over the past three decades, Arnault has turned LVMH into a luxury goods powerhouse with 75 brands selling wine, spirits, fashion, leather goods, perfumes, cosmetics, watches, cosmetics, luxury travel and restaurant. He opened China’s first Louis Vuitton store in Beijing in 1992.
In January 2021, the group completed a $15.8 billion acquisition of US jeweler Tiffany & Co, a major luxury company.
Arnault’s philanthropic efforts are pursued mainly through LVMH, which focuses its support on arts and culture. In 2019, the group donated €200 million ($212) to help rebuild Notre Dame after a major fire destroyed the Paris cathedral.
Arnault has held the title of the richest person in Europe, but the 73-year-old keeps a lower profile than Musk and does not personally work on any social media platforms. In October, he told Radio Classique of LVMH that he sold his private jet because he was embarrassed on Twitter about his frequent use of planes.
Arnault is married and has five children, all of whom currently work at LVMH or one of its brands, according to Bloomberg.