Bernard Arnault won the top spot as the world's richest man on Forbes’s annual “World’s Billionaire List”

Steinertiene Eleonora -

Bernard Arnault won the top spot as the world's richest man on Forbes’s annual “World’s Billionaire List”

Bernard Arnault, a luxury fashion tycoon Bernard Arnault of France became the world's wealthiest man in the world on Forbes’ 2023 list of the World’s Billionaires.

Bernard Arnault surpassed the 51-year-old CEO of SpaceX, Elon Musk after he lost $39 billion of his net worth in a year. 

Bernard Arnault's current achievements

He reached the top as a result of LVMH's successful year. In the past 12 months, Arnault's fortune increased by $53 billion, the largest achievement of any billionaire this year. This was made possible by record highs in LVHM's revenue, profits, and share prices. 

The 74-year-old successful businessman, who has $211 billion in wealth, leads the 2023 list. As a result of the company's shares reaching a record high, according to a report in The Guardian, he saw his wealth exceed $200 billion, surpassing Elon Musk, who was rated No. 1 last year and is now placed second, by $31 billion, according to Forbes

He became the third individual to ever attain such levels of personal wealth. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, and Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, had previously reached the milestone, but their fortunes have dropped as a result of falling stock prices for their big technology businesses.

Mr. Arnault's net worth increased by $2.4 billion to $202 billion on May 22, according to the continuously updated Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His fortune has expanded by $39 billion this year as LVMH shares rose 30% due to the growing demand for luxury goods among the world's wealthy. 

According to Bloomberg, Arnault's holdings in Christian Dior, which are nearly half of his holdings in LVMH (a 97.5 percent stake), increased by $2.42 billion on Tuesday, as the shares of both businesses maintained their upward trend.

Bernard Arnault's previous achievements

The brand names of businesses that LVMH owns, including Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Tiffany, Sephora, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, and others, are far more well-known to the general public than Arnault's. With more than 70 brands and devoted customers all over the world, LVMH has become the most prominent luxury goods company in the world in the nearly three decades since Arnault took control of it. Revenues increased from $4 billion in 1989 to $86 billion last year as a result of costly acquisitions. Over the previous year, LVMH's stock increased by 35%.

When the Frenchman's net worth was $3.1 billion in 1997, he was to be named on Forbes' list of billionaires for the first time. He surged through the ranks swiftly, climbing into the top 20 richest by 2005, worth $17 billion, and coming to fourth place globally in 2011 (worth $41 billion). His wealth increased drastically in 2018, going from $41.5 billion to $71 billion, even though he remained in fourth place. He has ranked third in terms of wealth for the prior three years, falling behind Elon Musk and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos last year.

Arnault perhaps has obviously mastered the technique of keeping the allure of simple and traditional luxury items. Why are high-end fashion brands like Dior and Louis Vuitton so successful? They have these two characteristics, which could be in conflict: They are a combination of modern design and permanence, according to Arnault, who shared them with Forbes in 2019. The Louis Vuitton Maison generated $21.7 billion (20 billion euros) in sales last year by offering $2,000 purses in addition to watches, jewelry, and clothing.

Adding new designers and brands has given LVMH a competitive edge. According to the firm, the cosmetics line Fenty Beauty, which was released in 2017 in collaboration with pop artist Rihanna, doubled sales in 2016 and grew to $550 million in sales by 2019. However, there have been failures. Fenty, a high-end clothing line Rihanna and LVMH created in 2019, never gained popularity; in February 2021, Rihanna and LVMH said they were putting the brand on hold.

Bernard Arnault's succession planning

Arnault, who is now wealthier than ever, is preparing his five children for succession. Reorganizing Agache - Arnault's holding company, which owns the majority of his LVMH stock, will be implemented in July to give equal stakes to his five children. All of them occupy management roles within the business. He selected his 47-year-old daughter Delphine, the eldest of his children, as the CEO of Christian Dior, the second-largest brand in the empire, in January. Antoine, the brother of Delphine, was appointed to the job of handling the holding company that controls LVMH and the family fortune of Mr. Arnault. Alexandre Arnault and Jean Arnault are Tiffany executives. Frederic Arnault is the CEO of TAG Heuer. For Louis Vuitton's watch division, the youngest Arnault brother is responsible for marketing and product development.