Bernard Arnault is the first European to top Bloomberg’s list of world’s richest people. His wealth eclipses Elon Musk’s $164 billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Arnault had already ousted Musk from Forbes’ list of “Real Time Billionaires” last week.
While Musk’s share price has plummeted 54% this year, Arnault’s company’s shares have held up, supported by robust sales in Europe and the United States.
He began his career in construction, becoming chairman of Ferret-Savinel, a family-owned construction company, in 1978. In 1989 he bought Boussac Saint-Freres, a bankrupt textile group, which owned a key asset: Christian Dior, a celebrated French fashion house.
Arnault bought a controlling stake in LVMH in 1989 and has been chairman and CEO of the company ever since. He opened China’s first Louis Vuitton store in Beijing in 1992 and is credited with helping to create Christian Dior, Dom Pérignon and other household names.
Arnault has long held the title of Europe’s richest person, but he keeps a much lower profile than Tesla’s Elon Musk. In October, he sold his private jet because he had been Twitter-shamed over his frequent use of the plane. He is married and has five children, all of whom currently work at LVMH or one of its brands.