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Bernard Arnault Biography – Age, Education, Personal Life, Career, Net Worth, Assets, and Awards

Bernard Arnault And His Family

Bernard Arnault was born as Bernard Jean Étienne Arnault on 5 March 1949, in Roubaix, France as the son of Jean Leon Arnault. His father was a manufacturer who owned a civil engineering company, Ferret-Savinel.

Bernard Arnault was born on 5 March 1949, and according to the calculation, his current age is 73 years.

Education

Bernard Arnault attended Maxence Van Der Meersch High School in Roubaix. After completing his schooling, he entered the prestigious École Polytechnique and graduated with a degree in engineering in 1971.

Personal Life

Bernard Arnault has been married twice. His second wife, Helene Mercier, is a pianist. He has two children from his first marriage and three from his second.

Career

Bernard Arnault joined his father’s company after graduating from college. He started planning for the company’s expansion and growth, and in 1976 he successfully convinced his father to liquidate the company’s construction division and invest the proceeds in a more lucrative business.

The Arnaults received 40 million French francs from the liquidation of the construction division, which they invested in the real estate business, which was then a booming sector. Now renamed Ferinel, the company became a very successful one specializing in holiday accommodation.

Bernard Arnault became the director of company development in 1974 and was named the CEO in 1977. He succeeded his father as president of the company in 1979.

The French Socialists came to power in 1981, forcing Arnault and his family to move to the United States. Being the astute businessman he was, he prospered there, too, developing condominiums in Palm Beach, Florida. Eventually, he began to build a U.S. branch of his family’s property business.

The political scenario in his native France changed in 1983. The French Socialists switched to a more conservative economic course, and Arnault decided to return home.

The enterprising businessman saw a lucrative opportunity when the textile firm, Boussac Saint-Frères, went bankrupt. The textile empire comprised several businesses, including the couture house of Christian Dior. Arnault collaborated with Antoine Bernheim, managing partner of the investment firm Lazard Fréres who arranged the financing for Arnault’s acquisition of Boussac.

Arnault invested $15 million of his own money, and Bernheim helped him raise the remainder of the reported $80 million purchase price of Boussac Saint-Frères. Upon this acquisition, Arnault sold most of the company’s assets, retaining only the prestigious Christian Dior brand and Le Bon Marché department store. He became the CEO of Dior in 1985.

After selling off most of the assets of Boussac, Arnault gained $400 million in the process. In 1987, he was invited to invest in LVMH by the company’s chairman, Henri Racamier. Arnault invested through a joint venture with Guinness PLC that held 24% of LVMH’s shares. Over the next couple of years, he continued to buy more shares in the company, spending several hundred million in the process.

By January 1989, Arnault had managed to gain control over 43.5% of the shares of LVMH with 35% of the voting rights. He was then unanimously elected chairman of the executive management board.

After taking over LVMH, he fired several of the company’s top executives and chose to recruit new talent to revitalize the company. He was a harsh taskmaster and was known for his inclination to quickly terminate employees who did not deliver according to his expectations.

He set about implementing an ambitious plan of growth and expansion of his businesses and acquired several other companies over the 1990s, including the perfume firm Guerlain (1994), Loewe (1996), Marc Jacobs (1997), Sephora (1997), and Thomas Pink (1999).

Net Worth

Bernard Arnault is a French billionaire who earned his fortune as the chairman and chief executive of the world’s largest luxury goods company, LVMH. As of this writing, Bernard Arnault has a net worth of 155 billion dollars. His net worth makes him one of the wealthiest people in the world, behind people like Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates.

Assets

Besides LVMH, Arnault has his fingers in a lot of other pies. Between 1998 and 2001, through his holding company Europatweb, he invested in several web companies, including Boo.com, Libertysurg, and Zebank. Through his investment firm Groupe Arnault he invested in Netflix in 1999. It was announced in 2007 that Arnault, along with the California property firm Colony Capital, owns 10.69% of Carrefour. Carrefour is France’s largest supermarket retailer and the second-largest food distributor globally.

Additionally, he has involved himself in the yacht business. In 2008, he spent 253 million euros on buying Princess Yachts. Then, he gained control of Royal van Lent for nearly the same amount of money.

Awards

  • He was made a Commander of the French Legion of Honour in 2007 and Grand Officer of the French Legion of Honour in 2011.
  • In 2011, he was presented with the Corporate Citizenship award from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Car Collection

Billionaire Expensive CarsPrice (USD)
Elon Musk – Tesla Model S$157,000
Jeff Bezos – Chevrolet Suburban$75,000
Bill Gates – Porshe 959$80,000
Mark Zuckerberg – Mercedes V-Class$83,150
Bernard Arnault – BMW 760Li$157,800

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