Fashion Industry Exec Becomes Third Person in Centibillionaires’ Club

The world has gained another centibillionaire.

Fashion industry titan Bernard Arnault, the CEO and chairman at global luxury goods behemoth LVMH Moët Hennessy, became the latest notable person whose fortune exceeded $100 billion, reported Bloomberg.

The executive joins the ranks of only two other high-profile names, both of whom are in the tech space: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Microsoft Corporation founder Bill Gates. He is also the first centibillionaire from Europe, let alone in the fashion industry.

According to the money magazine, Arnault’s net worth shot up nearly $32 billion this year, serving as the largest increase among the 500 members on its Billionaires Index. His wealth is now at valued at $100.4 billion — thanks to a 2.9% bump in the Paris-based company’s stock, which hit 368.80 euros per share on Tuesday.

As one of the world’s largest luxury conglomerates, LVMH has seen a 43% gain in shares this year, becoming the third best performing stock on France’s CAC 40 Index.

Through a family holding company, the 70-year-old controls half of the LVMH business, an empire of more than 70 brands including Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Celine, Givenchy and Rihanna’s recently launched fashion label Fenty. (Arnault also owns a 97% stake in iconic fashion house Christian Dior, which he purchased almost 35 years ago.)

Moreover, 2018 marked a banner year for the luxury goods group, which posted double-digit growth in both revenues and profits. LVMH’s sales reached 46.8 billion euros — up 10% from the same time the previous year — with its bottom line rising 21% to 10 billion euros.

“The desirability of our brands; the creativity and quality of our products; the unique experience offered to our customers; and the talent and the commitment of our teams are the group’s strengths and have once again made the difference,” Arnault said in the company’s earnings release. “In 2019, LVMH will continue its strong dynamic of innovation, targeted investments, combining tradition and modernity, long-term vision and responsiveness, entrepreneurial spirit and a sense of responsibility.”

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