Bernard Arnault is a Frenchman born in 1949. He began his career with a degree in engineering, following in his father’s footsteps. He started working for his father whom he convinced to liquidate the construction portion of the business to create a real estate company, of which he became the president and CEO. Soon after this Bernard took over as the CEO of a textile company and became focused in the luxury goods industry. The company he took over owned Christian Dior, Le Bon Marche, a retail shop, and a diaper company. He eventually sold off all the company’s assets, keeping the Dior and Bon Marche aspects. Thus began his tactical purchasing of some of the world’s biggest luxury brands.
In 1987 he formed the company LVMH, a merger of the brands Louis Vuitton and Moët Hennessy. Under LVMH he has continued to acquire more brand names such as, Christian Laroix, Fendi, Marc Jacobs, Sephora, and DKNY. In all he has more than sixty luxury brands and is in the works to try and buy out Hermes, one of the last private family luxury groups.
Mr. Arnault is an avid art collector and patron. He has set up several organizations to support artists and galleries. He has five children from two marriages. Several of his children work closely for the LVMH group. He has been ranked as the fourth wealthiest person in the world by Forbes Magazine, the richest in Europe. He has built a fashion and luxury empire worth more than $41 billion that continues to grow