Bernard Arnault Biography
Bernard Arnault, the man who brought fashion to nearly all ends of the globe is also we renowned as the fourth richest man in the world. As per the 2012 Forbes billionaire list, Mr. Arnault has now resumed the fourth place from the top with a net worth of $41 billion. Bernard Arnault currently serves as the CEO of one of the biggest fashion houses in the world, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) or more commonly referred to as Louis Vuitton. Born on March 5th, 1949 in the French region of Roubaix, Mr. Arnault finished his high school graduation from Maxence Van Der Meersch High School and later enrolled in École Polytechnique, from where he earned his engineering degree in the year 1971. Post education, Bernard Arnault joined his father’s company and in the subsequent timeline encouraged as well as convinced his father to turn the company’s attention to real estate. Under the extremely competent father & son leadership the new company christened, Ferinel began offering its clients with unique holiday accommodation packages. In the following years, the company reaped benefits of the duo’s hard work, which paved the way for Mr. Arnault to claim the position of the CEO of Ferinel in the year 1977 and subsequently became the President of the firm in the year 1979. In the year 1981, Bernard Arnault emigrated to the U.S, where he established Ferinel Inc. which was in the business of selling luxury condominiums in the state of Florida.
After serving as the CEO of France based Financière Agache, in the year 1984, Bernard Arnault in collaboration with Antoine Bernheim of Lazard Frères & Co. moved to acquire a textile company called, Boussac, which was also the owner of several luxury brands such as the likes of Christian Dior, Le Bon Marché. Shortly after the buyout of Boussac, Mr. Arnault focused his attention on Christian Dior and became the luxury brand’s CEO in the year 1985 and consolidated the brand’s perfume and fashion divisions to create a singular entity. The year 1988 witnessed the emergence of the first shareholder of LVMH group in the form of Bernard Arnault, after he had initiated a taker over bid for LVMH and the very next year, Mr. Arnault became the company’s majority shareholder. In the year 1989, Bernard Arnault was officially appointed as the chairman of the executive board of LVMH. Post this decision, Bernard recruited his father into the company relegating the position of Chairman of the Supervisory board. Under the direction of Mr. Arnault, LVMH displayed a stellar performance and was molded into one of the biggest names in the luxury industry, with both sales and profits witnessing a surge of 500%.
Bernard Arnault is known to have been married twice and is the father of five children. Delphine Arnault, the daughter of the fourth richest man in the world is also associated with LVMH and is known to be one of the richest women in the world. His son, Antoine Arnault is also involved in the LVMH management, as the Head of Communications for Louis Vuitton.
Taking into account the immense levels of success achieved by Bernard Arnault and his continuing contribution to the French Republic, Mr. Arnault was bestowed upon with the title of Commander of the French Legion of Honour on February 10, 2007. Then in the year 2011, Bernard Arnault was once again promoted to the stature of Grand Officer of the French Legion of Honour, which is considered to be one of the most coveted titles bestowed upon a civilian.
Current Position: Chairman, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH)
Source of Wealth: LVMH
Net Worth: $41 Billion
Education: Bachelor of Arts & Science, Ecole Polytechnique de ParisMarital
Bernard Arnault Estates:
1. St. Tropez Mansion
Location: Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azu, France
Nestled in the scenic region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azu, France, lies the magnificent town of St. Tropez that in the recent times have become one of the most alluring travel destinations for the rich and the affluent. It is here that billionaire Bernard Arnault owns a luxury mansion, which also serves as one of his most preferred vacation retreats. The mansion itself is a luxury waterfront property that comes with just about every modern amenity imaginable. Surrounded by lush green vegetation and offering a stunning view of pristine blue waters, St. Tropez mansion epitomizes the very definition of luxury. The entire mansion is comprised of breathtaking exteriors, while also carrying fully fusinished interiors.
2. Chateau Cheval Blanc
Location: Bordeaux, France
Located in the Saint-Emilion region of Bordeaux, France is the famous Chateau Cheval Blanc that is globally renowned for it exquisite vineyards, which spread across a staggering 41 hectares. The Chateau Cheval Blanc was purchased by Bernard Arnault in the year 1998, while the highlight of this spectacular estate is its 150 year old magnificent castle that serves as the residence of Mr. Arnault, whenever he visits the region. The acquisition of Chateau Cheval Blanc was made possible with the help of Belgian businessman Albert Frère, who was later named as the estate’s manager. The Chateau Cheval Blanc vineyards are known to provide an annual production of 6,000 Grand Vin wine cases, along with 2,500 cases of Le Petit Cheval.
3. Le Cheval Blanc
Location: Courchevel, French Alps
Besides the two luxury residences in France, billionaire Bernard Arnault has also shown a keen interest in the luxury hospitality vertical with the creation of Le Cheval Blanc. Located in the gorgeous ski resort of Courchevel high up in the French Alps, Le Cheval Blanc is a perfect amalgamation of breathtaking design fused with impeccable hospitality standards. This luxury hotel boasts of some of the most bespoke interiors that include velvet faux-fur rugs, animal hide and leather, while there are also present a variety of photographs adorning untreated wood surfaces. These photographs are known to have been especially commissioned for the hotel by the iconic Karl Lagerfeld. The Le Cheval Blanc is comprised of some 34 lavishly appointed guests rooms, along with an exclusive private ski-chalet and there is even present a standalone luxury penthouse. The entire resort features a plethora of modern amenities and services, including a fully equipped fitness center, Jacuzzi, heated pool with sauna and also boasts of the globally renowned Givenchy Snow Spa. Furthermore, to ensure that the guests have a once-in-a lifetime experience at the Le Cheval Blanc, the hotel even comes with two exclusive luxury boutiques from Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior respectively.
Bernard Arnault Cars:
Even with a vast personal fortune in excess of $40 billion, Chairman & CEO of LVMH, Bernard Arnault, who is also hailed as the richest person in Europe prefers to keep his collection of luxury cars as short as possible. The only known vehicle of Mr. Arnault is a BMW 7-Series luxury sedan. Considered to be one of the most elegant and comfortable luxury cars in the market, the BMW 7-Series features a fabulous mix of state of the art automobile engineering and bespoke opulence, thereby making the vehicle a befitting addition to any rich man’s garage. The top of the line BMW 7-Seriess comes with a 6.0L twin turbo V-12 engine, generating an impressive 535 hp, which enables the car to make a sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.6 seconds and achieve a top speed of 250 km/h. The BMW 7-Series comes with a six speed automatic transmission system, while there is also present Dynamic Drive Control with Adaptive Drive technology. The bespoke interiors of the 7-Series are comprised of exquisite leather upholstery and the tech marvels of BMW 7-Series include automatic air conditioning, a cutting edge infotainment system that is comprised of a navigation system, a USB port, iPhone integration and even comes with an 80GB hard drive which can be used to store important navigational data as well as one’s entire music collection. Furthermore, for the rear passengers there is available heated luxury seats that come with several unique features such as the like of massaging.
Bernard Arnault Collectibles:
With immense wealth comes an innate thirst and desire for the most unique and in the case of Bernard Arnault, the ‘unique’ takes the form of contemporary art. The French billionaire, who is also the fourth richest man in the world is widely revered as an avid art collector and a connoisseur of the art world. To ensure that his wealth is able to provide a gracious assistance to the realm of art, Mr. Arnault turned LVMH into one of the foremost art agents in French patronage. In accordance with his plans laid out in collaboration with Jean-Claude Claverie from the French Ministry of Culture, Bernard paved the way for up to ten exhibitions at the le Grand Palais in Paris, where in notable art collections were displayed in the form of two specific programs, namely “Le grand monde d’Andy Warhol” and “Picasso et les maîtres.” Soon after, under the banner of Louis Vuitton, Mr. Arnault spearheaded the patronage of two more events called, “l’atelier d’Alberto Giacometti” and “Yves Klein” at Centre Georges Pompidou.
In an effort to provide aspiring and talented artists as well as art students with a platform to build their careers upon, Mr. Arnault started off an international competition by the name of, ‘young creators LVMH award’. Open to both French and international art students, the competition is a prestigious annual event that offers six grants to the winners each year. Besides contemporary art, the foundation also provides coveted Stradivarius violins to a number of talented musicians.
Bernard Arnault Island: Indigo Island
Location: The Bahamas, Caribbean
One of the most idyllic and breathtaking retreats in the Bahamas, Indigo Island was purchased by billionaire Bernard Arnault for a whopping $35 million and the island itself is hailed as an ‘island paradise’. Spread across 135 acres, the Indigo Island is located in Exumas, Bahamas is most renowned for its hilltop luxury villa that offers residents as well as guests with a truly serene luxury vacation experience, while boasting of just about every modern amenity imaginable. The villa itself is maintained by a highly trained team of hospitality staff, while the guests are even offered the services of a private chef. Indigo Island with its rich heritage and heavenly scenery provides its guests with eclectic island cuisine, along with a plethora of outdoor and water based activities, such as the likes of golf, tennis, cycling, casino gaming, fishing, diving, swimming etc.
Bernard Arnault Yacht: Amadeus
Designed and developed in the year 1969, Amadeus is a luxury superyacht owned by French billionaire Bernard Arnault. The Amadeus superyacht was initially developed as a commercial vessel by Germany based Neue Jadewerft, but was later transformed into a magnificent luxury yacht during its refit in the year 2009. The interiors for the Amadeus have been accomplished by renowned designer Zuretti, while the exteriors of the megayacht carry the work of Reymond Langton Design. Spanning a massive 230 feet, the Amadeus is powered by two 16V 652 Caterpillar diesel engines that provide a combined output of 3,700 hp. This incredible power enables the superyacht to achieve a top speed of 15 knots, while sporting a maximum range of 15,000 nautical miles. The Amadeus boasts of some of the most bespoke luxury imaginable aboard a superyacht, while the vessel itself can accommodate up to 12 guests, along with an experienced crew of five.
Bernard Arnault Philanthropy:
Louis Vuitton Foundation for Creation
Cost: $200 Million
Donating money to charities isn’t the only way for one to become a philanthropist. As in the case of the fourth richest person in Europe, Bernard Arnault, philanthropy is his own way of providing support to a cause. Mr. Bernard, an avid art connoisseur is known to be in possession of a vast private and corporate collection of art. In the year 2006, Bernard Arnault sought the talents of renowned architect Frank Gehry to create a brand new art museum called, Louis Vuitton Foundation for Creation (LVFC). This museum-cum-art center is expected to surpass its previous estimated construction cost of $200 million and will house artworks from some of the most famous 20th century artists, such as the likes of Picasso, Yves Klein, Henry Moore and Andy Warhol. There will also be showcased works from more modern contemporary artists, including Agnes Martin, Frank Serra, Jeff Koons and Pierre Huyghe. After a brief legal lull, the ‘Louis Vuitton Foundation for Creation’ is now back on track and will one of the most breathtaking modern architectures in France. The LVFC is located at the center of the Bois de Boulogne part in Paris and the structure itself will be completely comprised of glass. On the outside, the building will feature a plethora of translucent panels that will be positioned in a manner in which they’ll reflect color and lights patterns. Scheduled for a grand opening in late 2012, the Louis Vuitton Foundation for Creation will also be featuring an in-house restaurant and an auditorium, while serving as a magnificent pedestal for the showcase of both domestic as well as international artworks.