Bernard Arnault is a French business mogul, art collector and one of the most significant tastemakers of the world. He is also the chairman, CEO and main shareholder of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton Company.
Arnault was born on 5th March 1949 in Roubaix, France. He went to Maxence Van Der Meersch High School. After that he enrolled in the Ecole Polytechnique and graduated with a degree in engineering in 1971. The same year he started working at his father’s company where he contributed significantly in the company affairs becoming its president in 1979. He went to the United States however did not like it there so he returned to France where he joined a luxury goods company called ‘Financière Agache’ as its chief executive officer. He acquired a struggling company ‘Boussac’ which owned other brands such as Christian Dior, Conforama, Peaudouce and a department store named Le Bon Marche. Arnault primary focus was on Christian Dior of which he became the CEO in 1985. He acquired the fashion and perfume department in 1989.
Arnault is a very clever and business minded person. He knew that by purchasing Dior he would get a hold over the luxury market. He started building his empire by selling several divisions of the Boussac Company because it did not have anything related to the luxury good market thus did not fulfill his purpose. He used this money to purchase shares of LVMH. After taking over the company he let some of the previous staff including many managing executives so he could shift the company’s focus from their previous trends to new and creative ideas. He hired new designers including John Galliano. All these moves gave him a solid base on which he could build a strong future for LVMH. Bernard Arnault kept on acquiring more brands in the 90s such as TAG Heuer, Sephora, Givenchy and several wine and spirit brands. With the shift in economy in the 21st century, he had to face many problems. People were not as willing to spend on luxury goods as they were previously. This resulted in heavy loss to LVMH however Arnault was determined and continued to be focused on his love for quality and luxury. Even though he had to downsize some of the brands he still kept a hold on most of the famous brands of the industry.
Bernard Arnault is also a well-known art collector. He owns several pieces by Yves Klein, Henry Moore, Andy Warhol and Picasso. He was also the owner of ‘Phillips de Pury & Company’ and auction house from 1999 till 2003. He has received many honors and awards including the title ‘Commander of the French Legion of Honour’ in 2007. He was given a promotion in 2011 after which he became the dignity of Grand Officer of the French Legion of Honor. The same year he was awarded with the Corporate Citizenship award. He was also made an honorary knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2012.