There are three individuals on the planet with fortunes higher than $100 billion. One is the world’s present richest tycoon, Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon. Next is Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, who was the world’s second-richest human—till now.
The latest claimant of the No. 2 slot, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index, is the final man in the $100 billion clubs: Bernard Arnault, chairman, and CEO of LVMH. Arnault and his families are the bulk owners of Christian Dior and LVMH, mother or father of such brands as Louis Vuitton, Celine, Fendi, Moët, Hennessy, Dom Pérignon, and others. (Dior is now underneath LVMH too, but it surely was held differently until 2017.) As LVMH’s share price has risen this year, so has Arnault’s worth. It now stands at about $107.6 billion, more than $200 million ahead of Gates, Bloomberg estimates.
Arnault’s new ranking enters with one warning: If not for Gates’s tremendous philanthropic giveaways, Gates could be the richest individual, even ahead of Bezos. Arnault isn’t prone to complain about either way.
The French entrepreneur entered the luxurious industry in 1984 when he purchased Boussac, a textile empire within the middle of bankruptcy that owned Dior. The famed mark by then had deteriorated by licensing its identity out to companies producing sub-par products. Arnault set about reviving it, turning it right into a vertically integrated firm that did its personal production, distribution, and advertising. He would go on to buy up different brands, such as Céline, and in 1988 engineered the deal that made him the majority shareholder of LVMH.