Elon Musk has been unseated as the world’s second-richest person by luxury goods tycoon Bernard Arnault

Elon Musk Bernard Arnault
Elon Musk, left, and Bernard Arnault.

  • LVMH chief executive Bernard Arnault has unseated Elon Musk as the world’s second-richest person.
  • Arnault and his family control 47.5% of LVMH, which owns brands like Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co.
  • Four of Arnault’s adult children hold executive positions within LVMH.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Elon Musk appears to have been unseated as the world’s second-richest person.

According to Forbes’ real-time billionaires list, Musk has been eclipsed by Bernard Arnault, the CEO of French luxury conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton. As of Tuesday morning, Arnault’s fortune was pegged at $176.3 billion while Musk’s clocked in at $174.6 billion.

Another real-time wealth tracker, Bloomberg’s billionaires list, still has Arnault in fourth position with a net worth of $146 billion and Musk in the No. 2 slot with $183 billion.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos remains the richest person in the world with a net worth of $197 billion.

Read more: The ultrawealthy are installing home amenities that rival 5-star hotels in the quest to never leave the house, from $50,000 Botox spas to cigar lounges and Zoom theaters

Arnault and his family control 47.5% of LVMH, and his surge in wealth appears to be the result of an impressive first quarter for the company. The luxury house, which owns over 70 brands including Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Fendi, Moët & Chandon, Hennessy, and Veuve Clicquot, recorded 14 billion euros in revenue – about $16.9 billion – in the first quarter, up 32% from the same quarter in 2020.

Following multiple quarters of declining growth due to the pandemic, the company said it saw strong sales in fashion and leather goods in the beginning of the year. LVMH also noted a uptick in alcohol sales in the first quarter, particularly when it comes to Champagne: Champagne volumes were up 22% compared to the same time last year as vaccinations continue worldwide.

Last fall, LVMH completed its nearly $16 billion acquisition of jeweler Tiffany & Co., a history-making deal in the luxury sector. The contentious deal came after multiple lawsuits, a public war of words, and a $400 million discount.

Following the acquisition, Arnault’s 28-year-old son, Alexandre, was named Tiffany’s executive vice president of product and communications following a stint at the helm of LVMH-owned luggage brand Rimowa. Last June, Arnault’s 26-year-old son, Frédéric, was named CEO of Tag Heuer, the luxury watch brand also owned by LVMH. Arnault’s daughter, Delphine, is the executive vice president of Louis Vuitton, and his son, Antoine, is the CEO of Berluti and chairman of Loro Piana, two fashion houses owned by LVMH.

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Alexandre Arnault, the 28-year-old son of Europe’s richest man, is now an executive at Tiffany & Co.

alexandre bernard arnault lvmh
Alexandre Arnault and his father, LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault, at Paris Fashion Week in March 2018.

  • Alexandre Arnault, the former CEO of high-end luggage brand Rimowa, is now an executive at Tiffany & Co., the 28-year-old announced on Instagram on Friday.
  • He will be based in New York as the executive vice president of product and communications at the iconic jewelry brand.
  • LVMH, the world’s largest luxury goods conglomerate that owns Rimowa as well as 74 other luxury brands, bought Tiffany for $15.8 billion in October.
  • Alexandre Arnault’s father, Bernard Arnault, has run LVMH since 1989 and is the world’s fourth-richest man, with a $117 billion net worth.
  • Three other of Bernard’s children hold leadership positions at LVMH brands Louis Vuitton, Tag Heuer, and Berluti.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Alexandre Arnault, the son of Europe’s richest man, is coming on board as an executive at Tiffany & Co. after four years as CEO of high-end luggage brand Rimowa, Arnault and Rimowa announced on Friday.

At Tiffany & Co., 28-year-old Arnault will be the executive vice president of product and communications, according to a press release. Tiffany & Co. is the newest acquisition of LVMH, the world’s largest luxury goods maker, which is run by Arnault’s father, billionaire Bernard Arnault. After a monthslong dispute, LVMH closed its deal to buy the iconic jewelry brand for $15.8 billion in October 2020.

Arnault announced his career move on Friday on Instagram, a platform he frequently uses to highlight new Rimowa products as well as personal news like that of his recent engagement to Geraldine Guyot, founder of French accessories brand D’Estrëe.

“I am now leaving the reigns of Rimowa to join Tiffany & Co in New York,” Arnault wrote in the post. “I am honoured to have been part of the Rimowa family.”

A post shared by A.A (@alexandrearnault)

 

The post included a photo carousel of “a few snapshots of our incredible ride together,” as Arnault put it, including Rimowa’s collaborations with artist Alex Israel and streetwear brand Supreme.

“No matter the distance, Rimowa will always be in my heart,” Arnault wrote.

Bringing change to Rimowa

Arnault, who leaves Rimowa after four years as CEO, will stay on as the non-executive chairman of Rimowa, according to a company press release. In 2016, Arnault convinced his father to acquire Rimowa and spearheaded a modern reimagining of the 122-year-old German luggage brand, collaborating with trendy brands like Supreme and Virgil Abloh’s Off-White. Last year under Arnault’s leadership, Rimowa launched a bevy of new products including backpacks and sunglasses.

As Arnault told Business Insider in a phone call in November, “Even before the pandemic, we thought that our products needed to be more part of people’s everyday lives rather than just being at the airport or in the hotel room at the destination.”

LVMH has been led by his father, Bernard Arnault, since 1989. Bernard is the richest man in Europe by far and the fourth-richest person in the world, with an estimated $117 billion net worth, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index. In the early months of the pandemic, Bernard saw more than $30 billion wiped out from his net worth as retail stores were forced to close and LVMH’s share price plummeted. But his empire has since rebounded, leaving his net worth $8 billion higher than it was before the pandemic.

The luxury goods empire is a family operation. In addition to Alexandre, three other Arnault children hold leadership roles at LVMH brands. Delphine Arnault, 45, is Louis Vuitton’s executive vice president. Antoine Arnault, 43, is the CEO of Berluti as well as LVMH’s head of image, communications, and the environment. Both Delphine and Antoine sit on LVMH’s board of directors. And 26-year-old Frederic Arnault is the CEO of Tag Heuer. (Bernard’s youngest son, Jean, is still in school, according to Bloomberg.)

Rimowa’s new CEO will be Hugues Bonnet-Masimbert, Rimowa’s former executive vice president of sales and client operations, who also spent 10 years at Louis Vuitton.

“At my side for the past three years, Hugues has been one of the primary artisans behind this success, and I am delighted to see him promoted to this new role,” Arnault said in a press release.

Another Louis Vuitton veteran, Anthony Ledru, will take over as Tiffany’s CEO, replacing Alessandro Bogliolo.

Arnault’s first day at Tiffany & Co. in his new home city of New York City was Friday, according to his Instagram, where he followed his big announcement with a photo of his Tiffany employee badge.

A post shared by A.A (@alexandrearnault)

Arnault’s fiancée, Guyot, is also relocating to New York, where she’ll continue to run her company, the designer said on Instagram. 

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