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Last Updated : Jul 22, 2019 11:42 AM IST | Source:

This man has surpassed Bill Gates to be the world's second richest person

He marked his foray into the luxury market in 1984 when he acquired the French textile company that owned fashion house Christian Dior.

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Bernard Arnault (Image: Reuters)
Bernard Arnault (Image: Reuters)

The doyen of luxury goods, who is the CEO of luxury goods brand Louis Vuitton and Moet & Chandon (LVMH), has surpassed Bill Gates to become the second richest person in the world.

According to Forbes’ calculations, the titan of all things luxe is now worth a whopping $103.2 billion, up from a total worth of $76 billion from March, when the annual billionaire ranking of the publication was released. At that time, Arnault was the fourth-richest person in the world.

His fortune totalled to $100 billion first in June. On July 18, his total worth surpassed that of Bill Gates' by $300 million, who is now worth $102.9 billion.


This is the first time since 2008, that Bill Gates did not feature as either the world’s richest or second-richest person. Although Microsoft shares have been doing well, hitting a record high, they could not match up to those of LVMH’s.

The continued sales of high-end luxury goods have ensured that Arnault’s fortunes keep rising.

Notably, Jeff Bezos remains the world’s richest person, despite having to part with approximately $124 billion in Amazon share amounts that will soon belong to his divorced wife MacKenzie Bezos.

While it cannot be said for certain if Arnault’s fortunes could surpass Bezos’ too, but since the wealth of both are associated with their companies’ stocks, a jump in LVMH stock or a dip in Amazon's can change the rankings.

Notably, only five people have officially featured in Forbes' list of the world’s richest or second richest persons since 2001, and they are Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Zara’s Amancio Ortega, and Mexico’s Carlos Slim Helu.

The man of the hour

The LVMH boss was born in Roubaix, France, in the year 1949. After getting a degree in Engineering he joined his family business in 1971. He moved to the US a decade later where he was a little-known real estate developer.

He marked his foray into the luxury market in 1984 when he acquired the French textile company that owned fashion house Christian Dior.

He soon came to be known for creeping into the shares of luxury companies such as Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, etc, earning himself the moniker “Wolf in Cashmere.”

In 2011 he received the Corporate Citizenship Award from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, which recognizes the work of super successful businessmen.

In 2012, the Prince of Wales also awarded him the title of ‘Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire’.

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First Published on Jul 19, 2019 06:00 pm
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