Bernard Arnault

Bernard Arnault

Bernard Arnault
Quick Facts About Bernard Arnault
Celebrated Name Bernard Arnault
Age 75 years old
Nick Name Bernard
Birth Name Bernard Jean Etienne Arnault
Birth Date 1949-03-05
Gender Male
Profession Businessman
Birth Nation France
Place of Birth Roubaix
Nationality French
Ethnicity French-White
Religion Christian
Horoscope Pisces
Mother Marie-Josephe Savinel
Father Jean Leon Arnault
Sister Dominique Watine-Arnault
Education Ecole Polytechnique
Marital Status Married
Sexual Orientation Straight
Wife Helene Mercier
Children Alexandre, Frederic, Jean, Delphine, Antoine
Spouse Anne Dewavrin (ex)
Net Worth $187 Billion
Source of Wealth Business Career
Height 6 ft 1 in or 185.5 cm
Weight 78 kg or 172 lbs
Hair Color Gray
Eye Color Blue
Body Build/Type Average

Bernard Arnault is a highly influential figure in the business landscape, known for his remarkable achievements as a French business magnate, investor, and art collector. He has played a pivotal role as the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, a global powerhouse and the largest luxury goods company in the world. With an extensive portfolio of prestigious brands under LVMH, Arnault has shaped the company into an industry leader renowned for its exquisite craftsmanship, innovation, and timeless elegance. As of June 2023, Arnault and his family's wealth is estimated to reach an astounding US$187 billion, positioning him as the second wealthiest individual worldwide. This impressive financial standing, as reported by BBC News, highlights his immense success and strategic acumen in the business realm. Beyond his entrepreneurial prowess, Arnault is also recognized for his passion for art and serves as a prominent art collector, further reflecting his multifaceted interests and his significant impact on various domains.

Who is Bernard Arnault?

Bernard Arnault is a business magnate, investor, and art collector. As the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world's largest luxury goods company, Arnault has played a crucial role in shaping the company into a global powerhouse known for its unparalleled craftsmanship, innovative approaches, and timeless sophistication. His remarkable success is exemplified by the staggering wealth of US$187 billion estimated for Arnault and his family as of June 2023, positioning him as the second wealthiest individual worldwide, according to BBC News. 

Bernard Arnault was born on 5th March 1949 in Roubaix, France with the birth name of Bernard Jean Etienne Arnault. He holds French nationality and belongs to a French-White ethnic background. Bernard follows the Christian religion and celebrated his 74th birthday in 2023, being a Pisces according to his birthdate. His mother, Marie-Josephe Savinel, had a strong affinity for Dior, while his father, Jean Leon Arnault, was a graduate of Ecole Centrale Paris and owned Ferret-Savinel, a civil engineering company. Sadly, Bernard's sister, Dominique Watine-Arnault, passed away on 1st March 2006. In terms of education, Bernard attended Lycée Maxence Van Der Meersch in Roubaix and Lycee Faidherbe in Lille. He completed his studies at the prestigious Ecole Polytechnique in 1971, which is known as France's top engineering school. Following his education, Bernard began working for his father's company, setting the stage for his remarkable career.

Bernard Arnault, Chief Executive Officer of LVMH

In 1971, Arnault started his career at Ferret-Savinel and later became its president from 1978 to 1984. In 1984, he seized the opportunity to acquire the Boussac Saint-Frères empire, which was owned by Christian Dior, by purchasing the Financière Agache with the assistance of Antoine Bernheim. After taking control of Boussac, Arnault implemented significant changes, laying off 9,000 workers and earning the nickname "The Terminator." He then sold off most of the company's assets, except for Christian Dior and Le Bon Marché. In collaboration with Alain Chevalier and Henry Racamier, he co-founded LVMH in 1987. Arnault became the largest shareholder of LVMH through strategic stock purchases, ultimately gaining control and becoming chairman of the executive management board in January 1989.

Under Arnault's leadership, LVMH underwent an impressive expansion, establishing itself as one of the world's leading luxury conglomerates alongside Richemont and Kering. Over eleven years, sales and profits multiplied by five, and LVMH's market value surged by fifteen times. Arnault orchestrated a series of strategic acquisitions, including Céline in 1988, Berluti and Kenzo in 1993, and Guerlain in 1994. The group further expanded by integrating brands like Loewe, Marc Jacobs, Sephora, Fendi, DKNY, and La Samaritaine. Arnault also ventured into the United States with the development of the LVMH Tower in New York. In a notable episode, he engaged in a high-profile battle for control with Gucci, ultimately making a substantial profit after settling the dispute. Arnault diversified his investments, including web companies like, Libertysurf, and Netflix through his holding Europatweb.

In 2007, Arnault joined forces with Colony Capital to jointly own 10.69% of Carrefour, France's largest supermarket retailer and the second-largest food distributor globally. In 2008, he ventured into the yacht industry, acquiring Princess Yachts and later taking control of Royal van Lent. Arnault's involvement extended to serving on the Board of Advisors for the Malaysian 1MDB fund from 2010 to 2013. He made significant acquisitions during this period, including a majority stake in Bulgari for $5.2 billion, the establishment of LCapitalAsia, and a joint venture with Marco De Vincenzo. In 2017, Arnault announced the integration of the entire Christian Dior brand within LVMH. Under his leadership, LVMH achieved record sales and profits, positioning the company as the largest in the eurozone by market capitalization. Despite initial complications, LVMH ultimately completed the acquisition of Tiffany & Co. in January 2021. Arnault's business strategy includes decentralizing the group's brands, allowing them to maintain their independence and individual histories.

What Awards and Honours have Bernard Arnault won?

  • Grand Officier of the Légion d'Honneur (France, 14 July 2011) 
  • Commandeur of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France) 
  • Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (Italy, 2006) 
  • Medal of Pushkin (Russia, 2017) 
  • Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (UK, 2012) 
  • The Woodrow Wilson Award for Global Corporate Citizenship (2011) 
  • The Museum of Modern Art's David Rockefeller Award (March 2014) 

Who is Bernard Arnault Wife?

Bernard Arnault is happily married to his wife, Helene Mercier, who is a talented Canadian concert pianist. They had first met through mutual friends in October 1990 and had started dating soon after. They have been together since their wedding in 1991 and currently reside in Paris. They have 3 sons together named Alexandre Arnault (b. May 5, 1992) (Businessman, President of the luggage manufacturer Rimowa), Frédéric Arnault (b. 1995) (CEO of the luxury watchmaker TAG Heuer), and Jean Arnault (b. 1998). They enjoy a harmonious family life. Before his marriage to Helene, Bernard was previously married to Anne Dewavrin in 1973, and they had two children together, Delphine Arnault (b. April 4, 1975) (Businesswoman, Director, and Executive Vice President of the fashion house and luxury goods company Louis Vuitton) and Antoine Arnault (b. June 4, 1977) (Businessman, CEO of the leather-based menswear manufacturer Berluti, Chairman of the high-end fabrics and clothing company Loro Piana). The couple parted ways in 1990. Through Delphine, he has a granddaughter named Elisa Niel (b. August 17, 2012). Through Antoine, he has 2 grandsons named Maxim Arnault (b. May 2, 2014) and Roman Arnault (b. June 4, 2016).

Bernard Arnault's wife, Héléne Mercier

All five of Bernard Arnault's children, Delphine, Antoine, Alexandre, Frédéric, and Jean, play official roles in the brands controlled by their father. Additionally, Bernard's niece, Stephanie Watine Arnault, is also involved in the family business. At present, Alexandre holds the position of Executive Vice President at Tiffany & Co, while Frédéric serves as the CEO of TAG Heuer, and Jean occupies the role of Director of Marketing and Development at Louis Vuitton. Since 2010, Delphine, the daughter of Arnault, has been in a partnership with Xavier Niel, a prominent French billionaire businessman focused on the telecommunications and technology sectors. Starting from February 1, 2023, Delphine has assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer at the prestigious luxury brand, Dior. 

What is Bernard Arnault Net Worth?

Bernard Arnault, with a net worth of $187 billion as of June 2023, is a highly accomplished individual. He holds the positions of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Executive Committee at LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, earning a total compensation of $3,470,000. In his remarkable journey, he briefly surpassed Jeff Bezos to become the world's richest person in December 2019 and January 2020. He achieved the same feat in August 2021. However, the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on his wealth, causing a decline of $30 billion due to the decline in luxury goods sales. On August 5, 2021, he reclaimed the title of the wealthiest man globally, with his net worth reaching an impressive $198.4 billion.  As of April 2023, Forbes estimates his peak net worth to be $240.7 billion, positioning him as the richest person in the world, but in June 2023, Elon Musk surpasses Arnault, with the latter's wealth dropping to $190 billion. Bernard is also known for his ownership of notable vessels, including the sold research vessel Amadeus and his current luxury yacht Symphony. His primary sources of income stem from his successful career as a businessman, investor, and art collector. From his career earnings, he is living a lavish lifestyle. 

How tall is Bernard Arnault?

Bernard Arnault stands at a height of 6 ft 1 in or 185.5 cm and has a body weight of approximately 78 kg or 172 lbs. His distinguished appearance is complemented by his attractive gray hair and captivating blue eyes. With his short-cropped, side-parted hairstyle and clean-shaven face, Bernard has garnered significant attention. In terms of physique, he has an average body build, adding to his overall appeal. He has got a healthy body at present. 

5 Facts About Bernard Arnault

1. His very first job was with a construction firm

After graduating from the École Polytechnique, France's prestigious engineering school, in 1971, Bernard Arnault embarked on his professional journey by joining his father's construction firm, Ferret-Savinel. Starting from the ground up, he gained valuable experience and knowledge within the construction industry. Arnault's dedication and hard work led him to assume the role of the company's president, a position he held from 1978 to 1984. This early professional experience laid the foundation for his future endeavors and provided him with the essential skills and business acumen that would propel him to greater heights in his entrepreneurial career.

2. He is a trained classical pianist

While not widely known, Bernard Arnault possesses a hidden talent as a classically trained pianist. Although he recognized his limitations and realized that a career as a concert pianist was not his calling, Arnault remained devoted to his musical passion. He dedicated time to practicing compositions by renowned composers such as Chopin, Liszt, and Schumann, with Chopin holding a special place as his favorite composer. In a charming anecdote, it is said that Arnault used his piano skills to captivate his second wife, Helene Mercier, a globally acclaimed concert pianist, by playing Chopin and other classical pieces. This lesser-known aspect of Arnault's life showcases his appreciation for music and the artistic pursuits that enrich his multifaceted personality.

3. He bought a nearly bankrupt company

In 1984, Bernard Arnault made a significant move by acquiring the financially troubled company 'Agache-Willot-Boussac,' which operated in the fashion retail and manufacturing sector. This strategic investment served as his entry point into the world of luxury business. He swiftly implemented restructuring measures, resulting in the layoff of approximately 9,000 employees over a two-year period. This led to him earning the nickname "the terminator." To streamline the company, he decided to sell off most of its assets, opting to retain the prestigious Christian Dior brand and Le Bon Marche, which held particular interest to him. By 1987, Arnault's efforts began bearing fruit as the company returned to profitability. Recognizing the potential of the luxury industry, he further solidified his position by investing in LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton), subsequently becoming the largest shareholder, as well as serving as the chairman and CEO of the renowned conglomerate. Arnault's strategic decisions and leadership played a crucial role in turning around a struggling company and ultimately positioning him at the helm of one of the most influential entities in the luxury goods sector.

4. He is an art collector

Bernard Arnault's deep passion lies in the world of art, particularly in collecting paintings. Over the years, he has assembled an impressive art collection featuring renowned artists such as Picasso, Yves Klein, Henry Moore, and Andy Warhol. This collection showcases his appreciation for diverse artistic expressions. His commitment to the arts extends beyond his personal collection. LVMH, the company he leads, has become a significant patron of art in France. One notable initiative is the LVMH Young Fashion Designer, an international competition that provides a platform for students from fine-arts schools to showcase their talents and creativity. Driven by his love for the arts, Arnault ventured into the auction industry by acquiring the auction house Tajan in 2006. Furthermore, he embarked on a remarkable endeavor with the establishment of the Louis Vuitton Foundation. This visionary project is dedicated to fostering the creation and promotion of contemporary art, further solidifying Arnault's commitment to supporting the art community and its development. Arnault's passion for art not only enriches his personal life but also resonates through his influential role in the industry, leaving a lasting impact on the world of art and culture.

5. His role models are Warren Buffet and Steve Jobs

Bernard Arnault, the visionary behind the success of LVMH, has found inspiration and role models in the likes of Warren Buffet and Steve Jobs. These two influential figures have played a significant role in shaping Arnault's perspective and approach to business. As a young entrepreneur, he admired Steve Jobs for his genius in transforming the telecommunications industry. Additionally, in an interview with Forbes magazine, Arnault expressed his utmost admiration for Warren Buffet, citing Buffet's brilliant ideas and long-term investment strategies as qualities he greatly admires. The values of creativity, quality, entrepreneurship, and long-term vision have served as the foundational pillars of Arnault's empire, making him one of the most successful and respected business magnates in the world.