Bernard Arnault: The rags to riches story of Louis Vuitton CEO is now world's richest person
Bernard Arnault has once again the world’s richest man, Chief Executive of Louis Vuitton.Author : Divyanshi Soni
Bernard Arnault is known for his passion for work, and it is only because of dedication that the world was addicted to the luxury empire, Louis Vuitton. Bernard Arnault has now become the richest man in the world. He has overtaken Amazon founder Jeff Bezos since 2018. In January 2021, Tesla owner Elon Musk overtook Bezos but Tesla shares fell in February 2021, after which Bezos once again became the richest person in the world.
On August 6, Bernard Arnault reached the top of the Forbes Real-Time Billionaires list, beating Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk. At present, the net worth of Bernard Arnault is 14.7 lakh crores, the net worth of Jeff Bezos is 14.5 lakh crores and the net worth of Elon Musk is Rs 13.8 lakh crores.
Who is Bernard Arnault?
Bernard Arnault is considered the godfather of the modern luxury fashion industry. He is the founder, chairman and largest shareholder of Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH), the world's largest fashion conglomerate. According to Forbes, Bernard Arnault earned $100 billion, or about Rs 7.40 lakh crore, in the last year. In this sense, he earned about Rs 2.3 lakh every second.
Bernard was born to an industrial family in Roubaix, France on March 5, 1949. He started his career as an engineer with Ferret-Savinel Construction Company and was successively promoted to Executive management position and became Chairman of the company in 1978.
He ruled the company till 1984, and in 1989 he became the majority shareholder of LVMH Moet Hennessy – Louis Vuitton. Bernard has been Chairman and CEO of the company since that date.
He is also President of Groupe Arnault S.E, his family company.
How the idea of fashion and luxury brands clicked in the mind of Bernard?
Bernard Arnault was in New York and was traveling in the cab, he asked the driver about the President of France de Gaulle. The driver replied and said, “No I didn’t know”. After this Bernard Arnault asked the driver about Dior, he immediately responded that it is a fashion brand. That's when an idea clicked in Bernard Arnault's mind, which has turned into a Louis Vuitton luxury fashion empire today.
Journey of Louis Vuitton – from terminator to world’s richest man
In 1985, the French government was auctioned a bankrupt textile company Bussock. Bernard Arnault bought it and fired 9 thousand employees of Bussock, after which he got the nickname 'The Terminator'. He then sold off all the assets of the company except the Dior brand and a departmental store. Bernard Arnault focused only on the fashion segment and by 1987 the company was again gaining profit.
In 1988, Bernard Arnault bought some shares in the Louis Vuitton Group. In one year, he captured 43% of Louis Vuitton's stock.
On 13 January 1989, he was elected unopposed as chairman of Louis Vuitton. Bernard Arnault then began expanding his business and acquiring brands. His net worth has increased by almost 500% in the last 10 years.