Fto produce Bernard Arnault it is not yet time to abdicate. As recently as last spring, at LVMH’s (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) annual general meeting, he proposed raising the maximum age for the company’s statuesque CEO from 75 to 80 — and received unequivocal approval of more than 80 percent. entitled to vote. So Arnault will remain on the throne of the luxury goods group for quite some time.
He will be 74 next March, and his public appearances do not suggest he is too quick to hand over the reins to one of his five children. Aged from their mid-20s to late 40s, they all hold key management positions within the LVMH empire. Anyone who could replace his father is always the talk of the town in Paris. If it’s already decided, it’s a well-kept secret.
No wonder shareholders let Arnault do as he pleases. Systematically the heir to a real estate entrepreneur LVMH has grown into a global empire with 75 fashion, leather, wine, spirits, watches and jewelry brands and more than 180,000 employees, with a stock market value that has grown nearly twentyfold over the past 20 years. At around €365 billion, LVMH is worth more than any other European company. Last year it added 12 billion euros in net profit and 64.2 billion euros in sales.
Last but not least, Arnault himself benefits from this, as he and his family own about 47.8 percent. LVMH capital and 63.5 percent. voting rights. Together with other investments, this amounts to about 161 billion euros, according to data from the financial service. Bloomberg calculated – making Arnault the richest man in the world right now, as Tesla founder Elon Musick’s stock has been falling for weeks. It was already briefly last May. Now he could stay on top longer.
This is confirmed by the stability that Arnault is cultivating at LVMH. The outgoing Frenchman, whose second marriage is to Canadian concert pianist Hélène Mercier, prefers to visit his boutiques on weekends and avoid the cameras. Arnault is also considered the roughest businessman. He really beat Porzellan when buying and selling companies.
The takeover battle of Italian luxury brand Gucci in the 1990s is legendary, ultimately won by his arch-nemesis François Pinault, founder and long-time chief executive of PPR (today Kering). Or his brash attempt to take over French leather goods specialist Hermès, which upset the owning family. But at the same time, Arnault, who was born in the industrial city of Roubaix in the north of France and graduated from France’s elite engineering university, is a meticulous and disciplined architect who managed to build his business success, which in the luxury world began with the purchase of fashion houses Christian Dior started in the 1980s.