Having always been fascinated by the world of wealth, fashion, and all things spectacular, I often find myself being drawn to the richest people in society so that I can learn more about how they got to be in the positions they are in.
I find it inspiring to read about how some people have an idea in their mind, put it into a business strategy, and build it up to be something that eventually makes them millions and sometimes billions of dollars.
So that’s why I was drawn to the life of Bernard Arnault, the chairman, chief executive, and founder of the luxury goods conglomerate LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Viton.)
In this Bernard Arnault bio, I will be telling you where it all began for Bernard, how he got into the business, what his net worth stands at today, and also a bit into his early childhood and personal life behind the business world, including his marriages and children.
Bernard Arnault Bio Facts
|Full Name: Bernard Jean Etienne Arnault|
|Birth Date: 5th of March 1949|
|Birth Place: Roubaix, France|
|Nick Name: The Terminator|
|Siblings: Sister, Dominique Watine-Arnault|
|Children: Four sons and one daughter. Antoine Arnault, Alexandre Arnault, Frédéric Arnault, Jean Arnault and Delphine Arnault|
|Partner / Spouse: Hélène Mercier|
|Profession: Investor, businessman, chairman, CEO, founder, art collector, media proprietor|
|Salary: 6 billion plus|
|Net Worth: $158 billion|
|Social Media: No current personal social media active|
|Companies Associated With: LVMH, Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Moet Henessey|
|Last Updated: September 2022|
Bernard Arnault Key Facts Summary
- In 1998, he bought Château Cheval Blanc. 
- He has invested in various web companies, including, but not limited to, Boo.com, Zebank, and Liberty Stuff.
- In 1999 Arnault Groupe invested in Netflix.
- Blue Capital announced during 2007 that Arnault jointly owns a property firm based in California called Colony Capital. 
- He is involved in the yacht business and bought Princess Yachts for over $250 million.
- He has an extensive art collection, including pieces by artists such as Picasso, Henry Moore, Andy Warhol, and Yves Klein.
- He used to own Phillips De Pury and Co.
- He put together the revenue model for the Louis Vuitton Foundation.
- His daughter, Delphine, is married to French billionaire Xavier Niel.
- He was named the wealthiest man in the fashion world in 1999.
- He was the wealthiest man in the world in 2019, with a net worth of $103 billion, just topping Jeff Bezos for a short period of time. 
- The COVID-19 pandemic massively affected the sale of luxury products, which in return meant that Bernard’s net worth went down by $30 billion.
- By 2021, he was again named the wealthiest man in the world, with a whopping $198 billion. 
- His current net worth in 2022 means that he is wealthier than Bill Gates.
- In the 90s, he opted to have an office in New York which could manage the company across the states.
Bernard Arnault Birthplace and Early Life
Bernard was born on the 5th of March 1949, in a city in France called Roubaix.  His mother was called Marie-Josèphe Savinel, and she had a love for all things Dior. His father was a manufacturer called Jean Léon Arnault, and he managed his mother-in-law’s engineering company called Ferret-Savinel.
Bernard was taught at the Lycée Maxence Van Der Meersch school in his hometown of Roubaix. When he was 22 years old, he graduated from École Polytechnique , one of the best engineering schools in France. Soon after this, he started working for his father at Ferret-Savinel. Jean now had full ownership of the company after being trusted with it by his mother-in-law.
After three years of working for his father’s company, led by Bernard, they decided to change the company’s anchor and focus more on real estate, the construction side of it was sold, and it was now just called Ferinel.
After they purchased a textiles company and relocated their head office, the brand became George V Group. Bernard and his father later sold the real estate side of things.
Bernard Arnault Early Business Success
Where It All Began
Bernard’s career started to take off while working for his father. He became president of the company and remained in the post from 1978 – 1984.  By this point, he had a lot of experience in real estate, and he came across the information that the French government was looking for somebody to take over the retail and textile umbrella corporation Boussac Saint – Freres, which owned Christian Dior. 
Later, he purchased a luxury goods company called Financière Agache. He became the brand’s CEO and was then successful in the takeover of Boussac.
In his first two years running the company, he gained the nickname, The Terminator. This was because he laid off over 9000 employees before selling off most of the company’s assets, only leaving Dior and Le Bon Marche.
After knuckling down for the first couple of years and putting everything straight, the company was again making a profit thanks to Bernard, with a revenue of $1.9 million.
Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton
During the 80s, Bernard had already thought about one day running a company that owned multiple luxurious brands. By 1987, he was working with the president of Louis Vuitton and the CEO and chairman of Moët Hennessy. From here, his success began to grow at a rapid speed.
In 1988, he formed a holding with Guinness, which held a 24% share in LVMH. Bernard later bought another 13% share in the company for $600 million, making him the company’s biggest shareholder.
This still wasn’t enough for Bernard, and a year later, he spent about $500 million on even more shares meaning he now owned nearly half of the entire company. He also held 35% of their voting rights.
Since then, he single-handedly transformed LVMH, seeing immense growth and leading to it becoming the most prominent luxury conglomerate in the world.
LVMH Leadership and Growth
Over the next ten years, sales shot up, and their market value multiplied by 15. As of 2020, LVMH owned over 75 luxury companies, but Bernard always made sure that they all remain independently run, meaning the history and stories behind the brands don’t get lost or swallowed up by the corporation.
Some of the companies that LVMH owns today include Kenzo, Thomas Pink, Sephora, Fendi, Marc Jacobs, Emilio Pucci, Guerlain, Celine, DKNY, and Loewe. 
What Bernard Is Doing Now 2001 – 2022
In 2011 Bernard announced the purchase of a 50% share in the jewelling company Bulgar for $5.2 billion.  Other acquisitions and investments that Bernard has partaken in include LCapitalAsia, Cin Hee Co Ltd, QDA, and Marco De Vincenzo.
In 2016, DKNY was sold by LVMH to the G-III Apparel Group, and the following year he purchased Christian Dior Haute Couture. 
By the time 2018 came around, Bernard had boosted the company’s sales to a record $42.6 billion, and the net profit had increased by 29%.
In 2019, LVMH was set to purchase Tiffany, but after COVID-19 hit, everything was put on the back burner. By the time the world was back up and running, Bernard claimed that the company hadn’t been run sufficiently throughout the company, leading to losses. He canceled the sale, and Tiffany attempted to sue LVMH. The dispute ended in 2020, and the original sale went through for a lower price than the first agreed. The deal was finalized in 2021. 
By 2021, LVMH was the most significant company in the industry, with a total net worth of $382 billion.
Bernard Arnault Videos
Listen to Bernard during a full Questions and Answers interview with the Oxford Union.
Listen to how the mastermind behind Louis Vuitton, Moet Hennessy, had daughters from very early on in his career.
Bernard Arnault travels to New York City to meet President Donald Trump at Trump Towers.
Bernard Arnault Business Failures
At the time of the uprising, when LVMH owned over 75 luxurious fashion brands, Bernard thought it would be a good idea to splash out a $150 million investment in the newspaper La Tribune. Despite the amount of money pumped into it, the paper was never as successful as planned, and after many attempts over the years to build it up, he eventually threw in the towel and sold it in 2007. He used the money made from the sale to invest in another newspaper, Les Échos. 
Now, this isn’t exactly something I would call a favor, and I am sure Bernard didn’t encounter any financial hardship during this time. Still, perhaps one time he will have noticed a chip in his bank account was during 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw a significant drop in sales surrounding the luxury market, meaning that Bernard lost $30 billion. It didn’t last long, though, and now in 2022, he is back to being the wealthiest man in the world.
Bernard Arnault Family
Bernard’s first marriage was in 1973 when he married Anne Dewarvin. The couple had two children, a son and daughter, Antoine and Delphine. The couple was married for 17 years before their divorce in 1990.
He soon remarried the following year when he married his current wife, pianist Hélène Mercier. They have three children between them, Jean, Frédéric, and Alexandre. The couple currently lives in France, and all five of the Arnault children play significant roles in the running of the LVMH.
Bernard Arnault Net Worth and Career Earnings
Bernard’s income is like nothing most of us can ever imagine, and it is still on the rise. His net worth is a massive $158 million, and his salary is around $6 million.
I recently learned that he is earning around $7000 a minute, which I think is impossible to get your head around.
He briefly overtook Jeff Bezo as the wealthiest man in the world. Although it didn’t last too long, he is still right behind him on the list.
Bernard Arnault Real Estate Holdings
You won’t be surprised to learn that Bernard has an abundance of homes all over the world, and let’s face it, with a net worth of $158 billion, why wouldn’t you?
One of his homes is in Bordeaux, Paris, and is a mansion set in a 150-year-old castle. It is encased in vineyards and Greenland. He spends a lot of time at this home with his wife.
He also has a home in the French Alps, mainly used for business travels. It is located near one of the biggest skiing resorts in the world. This chateau is situated in Saint-Emilion, and he bought the home in 1998. It consists of 34 rooms, a penthouse, a heated pool, jacuzzi, and the property overlooks the mountains.
He owns a vacation home in St Tropez, Paris, which he uses for holidays only.
Of course, being a billionaire, he has to have his island, doesn’t he? Bernard owns a 133-acre private island in the Bahamas. He purchased the island for an eye-watering $35 million.
Aside from his French properties and island in the Bahamas, Bernard also owns five homes across Beverly Hills. Two of the homes are very close together, and he intends to knock them down and build a giant property over both plots.
Bernard Arnault Quotes
Anyone with Bernard’s amount of success and wealth has a lot to say when it comes to life and business, so let’s take a look at some of Bernard’s missions and values that have gotten him to where he is today.
“Affordable luxury are two terms that don’t go together.”
“Happiness for me is really leading the team and, if possible, leading them to the top.”
“Money is just a consequence. I always tell my team not to worry too much about profitability because if you do well in your job, the profitability will come.”
“The key to success is this duality, timelessness, and the utmost modernity.”
“If you can control your distribution, you can control your image.”
FAQs – Bernard Arnault Bio
Question: What Company Does Bernard Arnault Own?
Answer: Bernard Arnault is the chairman and chief executive of the umbrella corporation, LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy.)
Question: Does Bernard Arnault Have Any Children?
Answer: Yes. Bernard has five children. One daughter and a son from his first marriage, and three sons with his current wife. All his children have roles in the company.
Question: Is Bernard Arnault Richer Than Jeff Bezos?
Answer: In 2019, Bernard overtook Jeff Bezos with the title of the richest man in the world, but it was only brief, and Jeff soon returned to his number one spot on the list.
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