On Friday, French luxury goods magnate Bernard Arnault briefly toppled Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to become the richest person in the world. Now relegated back to second wealthiest in the world, Arnault remains the richest person in Europe.
Arnault lasted just a couple of days at the top before Bezos recovered his regular position. But this was the second time in recent months that Arnault has borrowed the crown.
2019 was a good year for Arnault. The CEO of the LVMH group (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) earned an estimated profit of €35.1 billion over the course of the year. This breaks down as €4,020,307 every hour, or €66,700 a minute. He is one of only three people ever to make it into the exclusive centi-billionaires club, along with Bezos and Bill Gates.
Arnault first dethroned Bezos on December 16, 2019. This triumph lasted even shorter, less than five hours, before Bezos returned to the top. It occurred after LVMH acquired luxury jewelry company Tiffany, causing their stocks to rise.
‘Fascination for Dior’
Arnault’s story is not exactly rags-to-riches, but it does reveal a man driven by ambition who built his own empire.
He was born Bernard Jean Étienne Arnault on March 5, 1949 in the French city of Roubaix, near the Belgian border.
His father Jean Léon Arnault was a manufacturer and the owner of the civil engineering company, Ferret-Savinel.