Net Worth, Family, Career of World’s Richest Person

Arnault comes from the northern French town of Roubaix — he studied engineering at one of France’s most prestigious schools, the École Polytechnique. After graduating, Arnault went to work for his father’s construction company, Ferret-Savinel.

Ecole Polytechnique

Students from Ecole Polytechnique.

Thibault Camus/AP

Source: Bloomberg, Business Insider

In 1984, Arnault acquired an ailing company called Agache-Willot-Boussac, which owned brands like French department store Bon Marche and the fashion house Christian Dior. He renamed the firm Financiere Agache and initiated a turnaround, cutting costs and selling off some of its businesses.

bernard arnault

LVMH vice president Alain Chevalier and Bernard Arnault, then CEO of Financiere Agache, at an event in Paris in 1988.

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Source: Bloomberg

Soon after, he bought fashion house Celine and funded the French designer Christian Lacroix.


Claudio Lavenia/Getty Images

Source: The New York Times

In the late 1980s, Arnault said his goal was to run the world’s largest luxury company within the following decade. He then set his sights on LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton, spending $2.6 billion buying up shares in order to become the company’s largest shareholder, and its chairman and CEO by 1989.

Bernard Arnault

Bernard Arnault circa 1980.

Michel SETBOUN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Source: The New York Times

Arnault married Anne Dewavrin in 1973 and they had two children together before separating in 1990. Arnault remarried to Helene Mercier, a Canadian concert pianist, in 1991.

helene mercier bernard arnault

Helene Mercier and Bernard Arnault.


Source: Financial Times, Forbes

He reportedly wooed her by playing Chopin and other classical composers.

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Arnault at his home in 2000.

Laurent VAN DER STOCKT/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Source: Forbes

The French billionaire and his wife live on Paris’s Left Bank, south of the Seine River, a historic area that includes neighborhoods such as the Latin Quarter and St. Germain-des-Prés.


Alexander Spatari/Getty Images

Source: Bloomberg, The New York Times

In their home, Arnault keeps a collection of modern and contemporary art from artists that include Jean-Michel Basquiat, Damien Hirst, Maurizio Cattelan, Andy Warhol, and Pablo Picasso.

picasso painting art sothebys

Art handlers hang “Tete De Femme” by Pablo Picasso at a 2016 Sotheby’s auction in London.

Ben Pruchnie / Staff / Getty Images

Source: Bloomberg

Arnault has five children: two with his first wife and three with his current wife.

Bernard Arnault sons

Arnault with three of his sons at the Roland Garros 2018 French Open tennis tournament in Paris in June 2018.

Getty Images

Source: The New York Times

Antoine Arnault and Delphine Arnault are his two children from his first marriage.

bernard arnault children

Antoine and Delphine Arnault with their father, Bernard Arnault, in 2015.

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Source: The New York Times, LVMH

Delphine, Arnault’s oldest daughter, is the apparent heiress to the LVMH empire.

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Delphine Arnault.

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Source: The New York Times

She started her career at American consultancy firm McKinsey & Co. in Paris and is now the executive vice president at Louis Vuitton.

delphine arnault

Delphine Arnault in 2001.


Source: Business of Fashion, The New York Times

In January 2019, Delphine became the youngest member of LVMH’s executive committee at age 43.

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Bernard Arnault and Delphine Arnault.

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Source: MDS

Delphine married Italian wine heir Alessandro Vallarino Gancia in 2005 in what Forbes called “France’s wedding of the year.” The couple divorced in 2010.

delphine arnault wedding

Delphine Arnault and Alessandro Vallarino Gancia.


Source: Forbes, Business Insider

She now reportedly lives with tech billionaire Xavier Niel and has one daughter. But Delphine is notoriously private about her personal life. “I’m quite discreet,” she told the Financial Times in a rare 2014 interview. “I think I’d rather focus on my work.”

delphine arnault

Xavier Niel, Delphine Arnault, and Bernard Arnault in Paris in April 2018.

Vincent Isore/IP3/Getty Images

Source: Financial Times

Delphine’s younger brother, Antoine, is chief executive of menswear label Berluti and chairman of the cashmere label Loro Piana, both LVMH brands.

antoine arnault

Getty Images

Source: The New York Times, LVMH

In addition to those roles, Antoine was named head of communications and image for LVMH in June 2018, and in late 2022, took on a new position: CEO of the family holding company, Christian Dior SE.

antoine arnault

Antoine Arnault at a Louis Vuitton show in January 2019 in Paris.

Corbis via Getty Images

Source: Business of Fashion, Reuters

He’s married to supermodel Natalia Vodianova, whom he reportedly met on a shoot for a 2008 Louis ­Vuitton campaign when he was the brand’s head of communications.

antoine arnault natalia Vodianova

Antoine Arnault and Natalie Vodianova during 2019 fashion week in Paris, France.

Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images

Source: W Magazine

The couple lives in Paris with their two children and Vodianova’s three children from a previous marriage.

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Natalia Vodianova and Antoine Arnault during Paris Fashion Week in January 2019.

Jacopo Raule/Getty Images

Source: W Magazine

Alexandre, the son of Bernard Arnault and Helene Mercier, was the CEO of Rimowa, a German luggage brand owned by LVMH.

alexandre arnault

Alexandre Arnault at Foundation Louis Vuitton in October 2018 in Paris.

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Source: The New York Times, LVMH, Getty Images

Following LVMH’s acquisition of Tiffany & Co. last year, Alexandre was named Tiffany’s executive vice president of product and communications.

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Alexandre Arnault and his father, Bernard Arnault.

Donato Sardella/Getty Images for Louis Vuitton

Source: Business Insider

He appears to be friends with Evan Spiegel, the chief executive of Snap, Snapchat’s parent company. Spiegel told The New York Times that Alexandre is “a really creative guy” and that “he’s constantly thinking about the brand and how to express that.”


Delphine Arnault and Alexandre Arnault.

Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images

Source: The New York Times

Alexandre’s younger brother, Frederic, also has a role at LVMH. He joined the conglomerate as the strategy and digital director at Swiss luxury watch brand TAG Heuer, LVMH’s largest watch brand, in 2018. Last June, Frederic became TAG Heuer’s CEO.

Bernard Arnault son

Bernard Arnault and his son Frederic Arnault in June 2018.


Source: The New York Times, Robb Report

Frederic graduated from his father’s alma mater, École Polytechnique in Paris, and interned at Facebook and consulting firm McKinsey before joining LVMH as the temporary head of connected technologies at TAG Heuer in 2017.

frederic arnault

Frederic Arnault at a TAG Heuer auction in October 2018 in London.

Getty Images

Source: The New York Times

Arnault’s youngest son, Jean got involved in LVMH in 2021, quietly joining Louis Vuitton as director of marketing and product development, watches.

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Jean Arnault (front left) with his brother, Frederic (center) and father, Bernard (right).

Rindoff Petroff/Hekimian/Getty Images

Source: WWD, Insider

Like many billionaires, Arnault travels by private jet.

bernard arnault private jet

Bernard Arnault on his private jet between Beijing and Shanghai in 2004.

Marc DEVILLE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Source: Getty Images

He owns a sprawling vacation villa in glitzy Saint-Tropez on the French Riviera …

bernard arnault st tropez villa

Bernard Arnault’s Saint-Tropez villa in 2015.

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Source: Telegraph

… where he has been seen enjoying some tennis matches.

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An undated photo of Arnault playing tennis in Saint Tropez.

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Source: Getty Images

Arnault has also reportedly spent at least $96.4 million on residential properties in Los Angeles in the Beverly Hills, Trousdale Estates, and Hollywood Hills neighborhoods.

beverly hills california

Shutterstock/Zhukova Valentyna

Source: The Real Deal

Arnault has rubbed shoulders with some of the world’s influential figures, in the fashion world and otherwise. In 2017, he met President Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York City right before Trump’s inauguration to discuss expanding LVMH factories in the US.

donald trump bernard arnault

Getty Images

Source: WWD

He was photographed at parties with Lady Diana, Princess of Wales.

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British fashion designer of Dior John Galliano, magazine editor Liz Tilberis, Lady Diana, Princess of Wales, with Helene Mercier and Bernard Arnault CEO at the Dior 50th Anniversary party at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Getty Images

Source: Getty Images

Arnault was reportedly friends with Apple founder Steve Jobs, who once said to Arnault: “You know Bernard, I don’t know if in 50 years my iPhone will still be a success but I can tell you, I’m sure everybody will still drink your Dom Pérignon.”

steve jobs

Steve Jobs.

Seth Wenig / Reuters

Source: CNBC

In November 2020, LVMH completed its nearly $16 billion acquisition of jeweler Tiffany & Co., a history-making deal in the luxury sector. The contentious deal came after multiple lawsuits, a public war of words, and a $400 million discount.

FILE PHOTO: A Tiffany & Co. logo is seen outside a store in Paris, France, November 22, 2019. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo

A Tiffany & Co. logo is seen outside a store in Paris


Source: Business Insider

Now, a banner year at LVMH has propelled Arnault to the No. 1 spot on Forbes’ annual ranking of the world’s richest people for the first time, surpassing Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos along the way. Arnault’s net worth is currently $211 billion, up $53 billion in the past 12 months for the biggest gain of any billionaire on the list this year.

Bernard Arnault


Source: Forbes

Marissa Perino contributed reporting. Taylor Nicole Rogers contributed to an earlier version of this story.

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