- French billionaire, Bernard Arnault, became the world’s richest person with a net worth surpassing $186B
- Arnault, whose fortunes are largely tied to luxury conglomerate LVMH, has seen a staggering 145% increase in his net worth since the beginning of the pandemicFrance’s Bernard Arnault Becomes the World’s Richest Person
This week, French billionaire, Bernard Arnault, became the world’s richest person.
Arnault’s rise into the top spot is particularly noteworthy since American billionaires – particularly in the technology sector – have dominated the world’s richest people ranking for a number of years. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos remains neck-and-neck with Arnault, with Elon Musk still within striking distance.
Rank Name Country Net Worth (May 24, 2021) 1 Bernard Arnault France $186.3 billion 2 Jeff Bezos United States $186.0 billion 3 Elon Musk United States $147.3 billion
Jeff Bezos began 2021 in the top spot but has been challenged by both Elon Musk and Bernard Arnault. The former took a hit after Tesla’s stock began to cool off after hitting a record high in Q1 2021.
Arnault’s name may be new to some, but he has been one of the top five richest people globally since 2018 and has been a billionaire for well over a decade. The French tycoon got his start in the fashion space by parlaying a fortune made in construction into the purchase of Christian Dior in 1985.
Vive la France
Bernard Arnault oversees an empire that includes many iconic French luxury brands, including; Louis Vuitton, Dom Pérignon, and Christian Dior. His luxury group, LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy), also spans the retail and hospitality industries.
It may be surprising that LVMH is thriving during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the company has been buoyed by strong sales in Asia – especially China.
In January 2021, LVMH completed a deal for Tiffany & Co for nearly $16 billion, in what is possibly the largest luxury brand acquisition in history.