The man behind Dior and Louis Vuitton Bernard Arnault dethroned Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates as the second richest person in the world on Tuesday, according to the Billionaires Index. He is now the richest person in Europe with a net worth of 105.1 billion dollars, equivalent to more than 3 percent of France’s economy.
Jeff Bezos holds the top position with a net worth of 125 billion dollars. Chairman and CEO of LVMH, Bernard Arnault has built LVMH into a global luxury powerhouse with brands such as Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Givenchy, Dom Perignon, and Sephora.
· Born on March 5, 1949, in Roubaix in Northern France, Arnault began his career at his father’s construction company.
· Arnault and his family pledged more than 650 million dollars in April for the revamp of Nore Dame Cathedral, after a devastating fire.
· He owns a number of modern and contemporary paintings including Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, and Jean-Michel Basquiat, to name a few.
· Luxury brand Christian Dior, founded in 1949, was acquired by Arnault in 1984. He owns a 97 percent stake in the brand.
· Later, luxury brands like Moet Hennessy and Vuitton merged to form LVMH – Moet Hennessy-Louis Vuitton SE.
· In the 1970s, he became the CEO and President of the business.
· In 1984, he took over fashion company Agache-Willot-Boussac and renamed it Financiere Agache.
· Over the years, he acquired big brands like DKNY, Sephora and Marc Jacobs, to name a few.
· He has also invested Netflix.
· His daughter is a member of LVMH’s executive committee and executive vice president of Louis Vuitton.
· Arnault married his second wife Helene Mercier, a concert pianist, in 1991. According to Forbes, he wooed his wife by playing Chopin and other classical composers. The couple has three sons.