Bernard Arnault, chairman of French luxury conglomerate LVMH, is the world’s latest centibillionaire, according to Bloomberg. Arnault’s fortune reached 100 billion US dollars last week, when LVMH climbed 2.9 percent to 368.80 euros (approximately 420 dollars) a share. His net worth increased 32 billion US dollars this year, more than any other person on Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index. At 70 years old, Arnault is the richest person in Europe and the third richest person in the world, according to the Index.
In addition to owning half of LVMH through a family holding company, Arnault also owns a 97 percent stake in Christian Dior, the brand with which he initiated his career in the luxury goods market. He acquired Christian Dior’s parent company Financière Agache in 1984, selling all of its other businesses and using the proceeds to buy a majority stake in LVMH in 1988, one year after the merger of fashion house Louis Vuitton with beverage company Moët Hennessy.
Arnault’s fortune now equals 3 percent of France’s economy, according to Bloomberg. He pledged to donate the equivalent of 650 million US dollars in April to the reconstruction of the Notre Dame cathedral.