Published On: Tue, Feb 27th, 2024

The world’s richest person £16bn wealthier than Elon Musk | World | News

The world’s richest person is £16billion better off than Elon Musk, but who is he?

Bernard Arnault, 74, is the chairman and CEO of LVMH which operates Moet, Hennessy and Louis Vuitton among others and has a net worth of about £180bn compared with Musk’s £164bn, which places him in second on the Forbes rich list.

Arnault oversees an empire of 75 luxury brands having recently acquired American jeweller Tiffany and Co for more than £10bn in what is thought to be the biggest luxury brand purchase ever.

His holding company Agache backs venture capital firm Aglae Ventures, which has money in social media app TikTok and streaming platform Netflix.

Arnault’s father Jean Leon ran a successful construction business during his early years and Arnault got his start by borrowing more than £10bn to purchase Christian Dior in 1984.

His mother, Marie-Josèphe Savinel, was a pianist who is said to have had a “fascination for Dior” and Arnault has five children of his own Delphine, Antoine, Frederic, Jean and Alexandre, who all have an equal stake in his holding company.

Arnault lives in Paris with his wife Helene Mercier, a pianist like his mother, and has degrees in arts and science from Polytechnique de Paris.

He describes himself as “an ambassador of French heritage and French culture”, adding that “what we create is emblematic, it’s linked to Versailles, to Marie Antoinette”.

But during his early years in the luxury business, Arnault was given the nickname ‘The Terminator’ after he laid off 9,000 employees following his acquisition of Boussac in 1984.

Arnault owns a 101.5m yacht named Symphony, which was built in the Netherlands by a company called Feadship, until October 2022 he also owned a private jet, a Bombardier Global 7500, but it was sold after a Twitter account began tracking his movements.

Politically he has been a supporter of French president Emmanuel Macron, giving him his backing in the 2017 French presidential election, with Macron’s wife Brigitte teaching Arnault’s sons Frederic and Jean when they were studying at Lycee Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague.

Those trailing just behind Arnault and Musk on the rich list with fortunes in excess of £100bn include Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Ellison, the CEO of technology company Oracle.

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