Bernard Arnold is a French businessman and investor, currently the richest man in France and one of the richest in the world. He has been the Chairman and CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton Company since 1989 and is also a major shareholder of the company.
Born the son of a businessman, Arnold had sharp business skills from an early age. After finishing high school, he was admitted to the renowned Ecole Polytechnic and earned a degree in engineering. After graduation, the young man joined his father as an engineer in the civil engineering business and began planning to grow and expand the company. He persuaded his father to shift the focus of his business to the growing real estate sector and achieved significant success.
Eventually, he acquired other companies and became the owner of the prestigious Christian Dior brand and the Le Bon March department store. When LVMH was formed as a result of the merger between the two companies, Arnault invested millions in shares of the new company and became the first shareholder of LVMH. He was eventually elected chairman of the executive management board. In this position, he led a comprehensive expansion plan and transformed the company into one of the largest luxury groups in the world.
Childhood & Early Life:
He was born Bernard Jean-Etienne Arnault on March 5, 1949, in Rubeix, France, the son of Jean-Leon Arnault. His father was a builder who owned a civil engineering company, Ferret-Savinel.
He attended Maxens van der Mirsch High School in Rubeix. After finishing school, he entered the prestigious Ecole Polytechnic and graduated in engineering in 1971.
After graduating from college, he joined his father’s company. He began planning for the company’s expansion and growth, and in 1976 he succeeded in persuading his father to cancel the company’s construction department and invest the profits in a more profitable business.
Arnault’s received 40 million French francs from the closure of the construction department, which they invested in the real estate business, which was then a growing sector. Now renamed Fernel, the company has become very successful with its holiday accommodation specialty.
Bernard Arnault became the company’s director of development in 1974 and was named CEO in 1977. He succeeded his father in 1979.
The French Socialists came to power in 1981, forcing Arnault and his family to move to the United States. He was also a clever businessman who made condominiums in Palm Beach, Florida. Eventually, he began to create a U.S. branch of his family’s property business.
In 1983, the political landscape of France, his birthplace, changed. The French socialists went on a more conservative economic path and Arnold decided to go on fire in the country.
Entrepreneurial businessmen saw a lucrative opportunity when the textile firm, Busac Saint-Franois, went bankrupt. There were several businesses in the textile empire, including Christian Dior’s Kutcher House. Arnold collaborated with Antoine Burnheim, the managing partner of Lazard Frares’ investment firm who arranged the financing for Arnold’s acquisition of Busac.
Arnold invested $ 15 million from his own money and Burnheim helped him raise a reminder of the ou 80 million purchase price of Boussac Saint-Frères. Following the acquisition, Arnault sold most of the company’s assets, retaining only the prestigious Christian Dior brand and the Le Bon Marché department store. He became the CEO of Dior in 1985.
After selling most of Boussac’s assets, Arnault made a profit of $ 400 million in the process. In 1987, Henry Rakamier, chairman of the company, invited him to invest in LVMH. Arnold has decided to invest in a joint venture with Guinness plc where LVMH has a 24% stake. Over the next few years, he continued to purchase more shares of the company, spending hundreds of millions of dollars in the process.
By January 1989, Arnold had gained control of 43.5% of LVMH’s shares, with 35% of the vote. He was then unanimously elected Chairman of the Executive Board.
After taking charge of LVMH, he fired several of the company’s top executives and opted to hire new talent to revive the company. He was a strict taskmaster and was known for his tendency to dismiss employees who were not delivered as expected.
He set out to implement an ambitious plan to grow and expand his business, and in the 1990s acquired several other companies, including perfume firm Guerlain (1994), Lowe’s (1996), Mark Jacobs (1997), Sephora (1997), and Thomas. Pink (1999).
Bernard Arnold’s luxury suite LVMH was extremely ambitious. She demonstrated her characteristic determination and ruthlessness in the orderly and precise acquisition of the company and her successful integration into a group of various famous aspiring brands has inspired other fashion companies around the world to do the same.
Awards & Achievements:
He was appointed Commander of the French Legion of Honor in 2007 and Grand Officer of the French Legion of Honor in 2011.
In 2011, he was awarded the Corporate Citizenship Award from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Personal Life & Legacy:
Bernard Arnold has been married twice. His second wife, Helene Mercier, is a pianist. He has two children from his first wife and three children from his second.
Bernard Arnold’s company, LMVH, is engaged in a number of charitable activities. Supports humanitarian, scientific, and medical research organizations, such as Save the Children, the Foundation for Hospitals in Paris, and the Princess Grace of the Monaco Foundation.
He is a well-known art collector and his collection includes fragments of Picasso, Yves Klein, Henry Moore, and Andy Warhol.
2 thoughts on “Who is Bernard Arnault – Bernard Arnault Biography”