Anne Dewavrin (1973-1990), Hélène Mercier (1991-present)
1: Interesting Inception + Short Description (The man who got penguins to cry)
He is a French business magnate, entrepreneur, and investor apart from being the CEO of the world’s largest luxury-goods company LVMH. With a net worth of $108 Billion, he is the wealthiest person in Europe.
2: Early life
He always had the idea of becoming an entrepreneur, precisely like his father that was the owner of a civil engineering company. He started his education by studying at the Ecole Polytechnique that according to him, has given him an analytical capacity to solve the challenges that a business man of such caliber must necessarily resolve.
3: Career and Struggle
In 1971 he joined his father’s company that liquidated for 40 Million French francs to focus it more on the real estate business under the name Ferinel. Eight years later he became the president of the company.
In 1984 he acquired the luxury good company Financière Agache of which he became the CEO later. After that, he took control of the textile company Boussac Saint-Frères that in that period was in financial trouble. This company was made up of different ones, including the prestigious brand Christian Dior.
4: His Success
His success came when he started to participate in LVMH. It all began when he managed to resolve a conflict that occurred between the mergers of the two companies, Louis Vuitton and Moët Hennessy in 1987. One year later, when Guinness held 24% of LVMH’s shares, Arnault provided $1.5 billion to form a holding company with Guinness. After that, sensing that Louis Vuitton wanted to control enough of that LVMH’s shares to prevent other companies buying or controlling it, he purchased 13.5% more stocks of LVMH spending $600 million and making him the largest shareholder.
In 1989 he spent other $500 million, controlling 43.5% of LVMH’s shares, reaching the “blocking minority” a big chunk of voting rights. During the same year, he was elected chairman of the executive management board. Under his leadership, the company flourished and increased its market value by 15 while still making the individual firms be perceived as independent.
In the later years, LVMH acquired various businesses such as Céline, Berluti, Kenzo, Guerlain, Loewe, Marc Jacobs, Sephora, Fendi, DKNY, and many more.
5: 5 Tips to Succeed
Tip #1: Have a Goal
Have a goal and externalize it; otherwise, you won’t have a clear direction to where you should head yourself. It’s also essential that you speak your intention out so that you show yourself how much confidence, desire, and belief you have in achieving it.
Tip #2: Always innovate
We live in a world of constant change, that means you have to provide high-quality products that are innovative to the consumers; otherwise, you’ll be outweighed by competition. We can see this concept expressed by Arnault being applied in all of the businesses owned by the LVMH group, that’s why it keeps staying successful.
Tip #3: Create Immortal Products
Another advice that he points out is to create products that in 20 or 30 years from now will still be in demand. He talks about that when referring to a moment when he was talking to Steve Jobs and asking him if the iPhone would still be purchased 20 years from now. A question to which Jobs answered, “I don’t know.” Arnault instead knows that he sells products that will still be sold many years away from now, for example, as said by him, his Dom Pérignon is one of those.
Tip #4: Be creative
Arnault has always been concerned about how to create products and advertising that would be creative apart from being functional. That’s obvious as in the fashion business creativity is a synonym for success; anyway, he also applied this concept to the other business he owns like the cosmetics, perfumes and wines & spirits.
Tip #5: Create desire
He is not only a business expert but also a marketing one. He says how marketing is essential to ensure company success. Marketing, he points out, always comes after the product and it’s vital to present them well in an environment that creates purchase desire and gives the customer positive feelings, just like he does in his LVMH stores.
6: Favorite Quotes
“Marketing is all about creating desire.”
“To be successful, you have to have a combination between modality and timelessness.”
“All that interests me is promoting my brands, never myself.”
“I am very competitive; I always want to win.”
“You have to be just as mistrustful of straightforward rationality in business just as you do of a uniquely gut approach.”
7: 3 Lessons we can learn from his story
Lesson 1: Apply what you learn in one field in various aspect of life
He graduated in engineering but then became the richest man in Europe. How’s that possible? Because as he said, he applied the analytical skills he acquired during college to his business life, an aspect that turned out to be essential to avoid inevitable mistakes usually caused by not analyzing the business spectrum.
Lesson 2: Expand faster than the competition
The competition will always try to outweigh you, but if you can expand more quickly than it by making the right business partnerships and acquisitions, then you will never be out of the game. It’s not only how many moves you do but the quality of the moves you do, just like when he purchased various companies in the turmoil that later restored into successful ones.
Lesson 3: Strive for excellence
When he acquired the textile company Boussac Saint-Frères, he decided to sell all the company’s assets, apart from Christian Dior and Le Bon Marché, the two most desirable and prestigious ones. This means that Arnault already had a vision for excellence, and that revealed itself to be the case.
He presumably applied for Belgian citizenship to skip taxes.
Arnault’s family donated €200 million to help repair the Notre Dame Cathedral.
He owns artworks from Picasso, Andy Warhol and many more.
He owns a 101.5m Yacht called “Symphony.”
His inspirational figures were Steve Jobs and Warren Buffet.
He owns a $35 Million Island in the Bahamas.
He is a trained pianist apart from being a fashion and art expert.
Bernard Arnault is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the entire world, being the wealthiest man in Europe and the sixth in the entire world as per 2019. His success was caused by his great business-minded attitude along with his intuition and creativity that helped him surf until the top of the world with a net worth of $108 Billion.