Bill Gates has been unseated as the second richest man in the world, losing the position to Bernard Arnault, the chairman and CEO of LVMH. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in the latest ranking by Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index, Arnault is in second place with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos still retaining first place. Arnault and his family are the majority owners of Christian Dior and LVMH, parent of such brands as Louis Vuitton, Celine, Fendi, Moët, Hennessy, Dom Pérignon, and others.
As LVMH’s share price has soared in 2019, so has Arnault’s worth. It now stands at about $107.6 billion, more than $200 million ahead of Gates, Bloomberg estimates.
The report also states that Gates would have been ranked the richest person, even ahead of Bezos if not for his philanthropic giveaways which gave Arnault more room to climb. The French entrepreneur entered the luxury industry in 1984, when he bought Boussac, a textile empire in the midst of bankruptcy that owned Dior.
The famed label by then had deteriorated by licensing its name out to companies producing sub-par products. Arnault set about reviving it, turning it into a vertically integrated company that did its own production, distribution, and marketing. He went on to buy up other brands, such as Céline, and in 1988 engineered the deal that made him the majority shareholder of LVMH. Forbes currently ranks Dior as the world’s largest fashion brand based on sales, profits, assets, and market value.
Meanwhile, LVMH, on the whole, keeps attracting customers around the world, with China being the latest highly profitable frontier. (NAN)
Pix: Bernard Arnault, the chairman and CEO of LVMH