3. Bernard Arnault
- Age: 72
- Residence: Paris
- CEO and Chair: LVMH (LVMUY)
- Net Worth: $150 billion
- Christian Dior Ownership Stake: 97.5% ($133 billion)
- Other Assets: Moelis & Company equity ($23.3 billion public assets), Hermès equity ($2.23 billion public assets), Carrefour equity ($900 million public assets), and $9.48 billion in cash
French national Bernard Arnault is the chair and CEO of LVMH, the world’s largest luxury goods company. This business owns some of the biggest brands on Earth, including Louis Vuitton, Hennessey, Marc Jacobs, Sephora, and many more. The majority of his wealth, however, actually comes from his massive stake in Christian Dior SE, the holding company that controls 41.25% of LVMH. His shares in Christian Dior SE, plus an additional 6.2% in LVMH, are held through his family-owned holding company, Groupe Arnault SE.
An engineer by training, Arnault’s business chops became apparent while working for his father’s construction firm, Ferret-Savinel, which he would take control of in 1971. He later converted Ferret-Savinel to a real estate company named Férinel Inc. in 1979.
Arnault remained Férinel’s chair for another six years, until he acquired and reorganized luxury goods maker Financière Agache in 1984, eventually selling all of its holdings other than Christian Dior and Le Bon Marché. He was invited to invest in LVMH in 1987 and became the majority shareholder, chair of the board, and CEO of the company two years later.