Arnault

Bernard (1949). French entrepreneur. He leads the LVMH Group, an empire of luxury goods which includes Dior, Lacroix, Vuitton, Moét Hennessy, Kenzo, Guerlain and the Bon Marché department stores. He seemed to be destined for a career as a builder when, as a graduate of the École Polytechnique, he began to manage his father’s construction company. The turning point came in the early 1980s. Prompted to do so by the government, he purchased the textile group Boussac Saint-Frères, then in bankruptcy. The group included Dior and Bon Marché, thanks to investments that it had made. This was the beginning. In 1997, the group had a turnover of more than FFr 14,000 billion, with a net profit of FFr 1,336 billion. In Winter 1999, he became the main stockholder of Gucci. But his control was blocked by an alliance between management and the French financier Franµois Pinault. At the end of that year, on October 12, he acquired, together with Prada, 51% of Fendi.