Bernard Arnault Success Story, Biography, Journey
Bernard Jean Étienne Arnault is a French businessman, investor, and art collector. He is the chairman and chief executive of LVMH Moët Hennessy and Louis Vuitton, the world's largest luxury goods company. he is also the chairman of Christian Dior SE. On 19 September 2021, Bernard Arnault was considered the third-richest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of US 178.4 billion dollars.
Bernard Arnault was born on 5 March 1949 in Roubaix, France. His father Jean Léon Arnault was a manufacturer who owned a civil engineering company, Ferret-Savinel. His mother Marie-Josèphe Savinel had a "fascination for Dior".
Arnault was educated at the Lycée Maxence Van Der Meersch in Roubaix, and the Lycée Faidherbe in Lille. He attended Maxence Van Der Meersch High School in Roubaix. After completing high school he entered the École Polytechnique and graduated with a degree in engineering in 1971.
After graduating from college he was involved in his father's business. Late he planned for the company to expand its horizons and become involved in other more profitable businesses. Three years later, he became successful in convincing his father to shift the focus of the company to real estate, Ferret-Savinel sold the industrial construction division and was renamed Ferinel. After the construction was dissolved, the family began investing in real estate and due to this, the company became quite successful in what they’re doing.
“When I was working in my first job engineering construction, what I liked the most was working with architects and making buildings that had this creative side coming from the architect and that were making them a big success.”
Later he ranked up in the company and was the director of development in the year 1974. He became the CEO of the company in 1977. He succeeded his father as president of the company in 1979. The French Socialists came to power in 1981, forcing Arnault and his family to move to the United States.
“I think in business, you have to learn to be patient. Maybe I’m not very patient myself. But I think that I’ve learned the most is be able to wait for something and get it when it’s the right time.”
“Affordable luxury – these are two words that don’t go together.”
“If you deeply appreciate and love what creative people do and how they think, which is usually in unpredictable and irrational ways, then you can start to understand them. And finally, you can see inside their minds and DNA.”
The political scenario in his native France changed in 1983. The French Socialists switched to a more conservative economic course and Arnault decided to return home.
In 1984, Arnault was a young real estate developer. He heard that the French government was set to choose someone to take over the Boussac Saint-Frères empire, a textile and retail conglomerate that owned Christian Dior. With the help of Antoine Bernheim, a senior partner of Lazard Frères, Arnault acquired the Financière Agache, a luxury goods company. He became the CEO of Financière Agache and subsequently won the bidding war for Boussac Saint-Frères. Arnault invested $15 million of his own money, and Bernheim helped him to raise the remainder of the reported $80 million purchase price of Boussac Saint-Frères.
Later Bernard sold his all other shares and kept only the Christian Dior brand and the department store Le Bon Marche. In 1985 he became the CEO of Dior. After selling off most of the assets of Boussac, Arnault gained 400 million dollars in the process. In July 1988, Arnault provided $1.5 billion to form a holding company with Guinness that held 24% of LVMH's shares. Later Arnault spent $600 million to buy 13.5% more of LVMH, making him LVMH's largest shareholder.
“It is not enough to have a talented designer; the management must be inspired too. The creative process is very disorganized; the production process has to be very rational.”
In January 1989, he spent another $500 million to gain control of a total of 43.5% of LVMH's shares. After taking over LVMH he fired some of the previous employees
and replace them with some new employees so the new employees could reach his expectations.
Later Bernard Arnault works for his company to make this the world's most successful company. Bernard Arnault gave so much freedom to the creators. He allowed the designers to be as wild as possible and let them do the final decision. For a creator's Bernard Arnault once said:
"What I have fun with is trying to transform creativity into business reality all over the world. To do this, you have to be connected to innovators and designers, but also make their ideas livable and concrete."
There are many lessons we should take from his life. When he talk about the business he also said that we should produce unique products for the customers and we should also make quality products so the customers want to buy.
“I often say to my team we should behave as if we’re still a startup. Don’t go to the offices too much. Stay on the ground with the customer or with the designers as they work. I visit stores every week. I always look for store managers. I want to see them on the ground, not in their offices doing paperwork.”
In 1973, Bernard Arnault married Anne Dewavrin, together they had two children, Delphine and Antoine. They separated in 1990. In 1991, Arnault married Hélène Mercier, a Canadian concert pianist, together having three children, Alexandre, Frédéric, and Jean. Bernard Arnault and Hélène Mercier currently live in Paris. Since 2010, Arnault's daughter Delphine has been the partner of Xavier Niel, a French billionaire businessman active in the telecommunications and technology industry.
He was made a Commander of the French Legion of Honour in 2007 and Grand Officer of the French Legion of Honour in 2011.
In 2011, he was presented with the Corporate Citizenship award from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
“Oh, I was brought up in the north of France, and I had a very enjoyable childhood with my family working as entrepreneur.”
Other related tags for topic:
Bernard Arnault Success Story
Bernard Arnault Biography
Bernard Arnault Journey