Thursday, February 22, 2024
ECONOMY

Louis Vuitton boss, Bernard Arnault becomes the new richest man in the world

The French billionaire Bernard Arnault has built a massive and profitable luxury retail empire. Where  he came from to get richer than Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.

Elon Musk did not last long as the world’s richest person. A little more than a year after reaching the top, he has been eclipsed by 73-year-old French billionaire Bernard Arnault, according to analysts at Forbes. On December 20, they estimated Arnault’s fortune to be $180.2 billion (€169.8 billion), which is nearly $17 billion more than Musk’s.

Arnault is co-founder, chairperson and CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, commonly called LVMH. His holding company is its largest stockholder and has a majority of voting rights in the publicly traded company.

This is not his first time as the richest person in the world. He briefly attained the position in 2019, 2020, and again in 2021. If Musk can turn around Twitter quickly, Arnault may not have the title for long. Still, the Frenchman’s accomplishments are the stuff of legend.

Bernard Arnault knows the ins and outs of the luxury business© Raphael Lafargue/abaca/picture alliance

A luxury empire

LVMH is a Paris-based conglomerate made up of 75 separate brands of mostly drinks, high-end fashion and cosmetics. In 2021, it brought in revenues of €64.2 billion, 20 percent more than in 2019. Fashion and leather goods accounted for 48 percent of revenue.

The company the largest luxury firm in the world  has over 175,000 employees and 5,500 stores. In November 2022, its market value was around €371 billion, according to Statista calculations, making it one of the most valuable companies in the world ahead of MasterCard, Chevron and Nestle.

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