In the list of the richest men in the world in 2021 , according to Forbes , Bernard Arnault is in third place, just below Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk , and above Bill Gates . What is interesting is that, unlike these three people, man is not at the forefront of new technologies and is not tied to the revolutionary industries of the future. With a fortune of around 170.1 billion dollars, Arnault is the “king” of major luxury goods in the world.
Bernard Arnault: the genius of luxury
Frenchman Bernard Arnault is the President and CEO of the world’s largest luxury goods conglomerate, LVMH – Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which truly encompasses the brands we associate with the world of luxury and high-level. In its name, we can identify some of the main brands such as Louis Vuitton and Moët Chandon, which were the first to merge with the cognac producer Hennessy. However, the brand has about sixty subsidiaries, each of them managing a small number of high-prestige brands. This made him the third richest man in the world.
In total, 75 brands are under the responsibility of LVMH, including Christian Dior, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, Kenzo and Celine. In fact, every time we buy a luxury item, we pay Bernard Arnault. LVMH’s market has grown in recent years following Arnault’s decision to buy Bulgari and Christian Dior. In 2019 the group also acquired Fenty from Rihanna, the house of Stella McCartney and Tiffany & Co, which even caused the CEO to briefly overtake Jeff Bezos as the richest man in the world.
One of Arnault’s main initiatives in recent years has been to focus on e-commerce. In May 2018, he invested in the Lyst site, considered the ideal place to mix all luxury brands and make them attractive to young buyers. This has helped to strengthen its international power. On the other hand, the man has set out to seduce a younger market by promoting his products with influencers and personalities. Since many luxury brands were seen as only for expert adults, this changed the contemporary outlook for many of its products.
And although this is his main source of income, Arnault also likes to invest in different sectors. In 1999 he decided to invest in Netflix , and in 2007 it was revealed that he owned a portion of the shares of France’s largest supermarket chain. On the other hand, the man has a large collection of art which, according to some sources, includes works by Andy Warhol, Picasso, Henry Moore and Yves Klein, and his taste for art l ‘led to the founding of the Louis Vuitton Foundation, which focuses on the creation of contemporary art. This was opened in 2014 and remains active.
Overall, since Arnault has been at the head of LVMH, he has followed an ambitious plan, the fruits of which are visible in its current valuation. Through steady growth based on investments and the purchase of certain brands, as well as an investment in the current market, it has become the largest fashion and luxury conglomerate in the world. At 72, the billionaire doesn’t seem to want to retire, and even if he does, LVMH’s culture of expansion will continue.