Bernard Arnault was born Bernard Jean Étienne Arnault on 5 March, 1949 in the French city of Roubaix, near the Belgian border.
His father was an entrepreneur owning the civil engineering company, Ferret-Savinel, founded by Bernard Arnault's grand father.
Arnault joined his father's company after graduating in 1971 from the École Polytechnique, France’s most prestigious engineering school whose alumni include three Nobel laureates and former French president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. Three years later, his father made him manager of the company, when was only 25.
In 1976 Arnault persuaded his father to sell off the construction side of the business and focus instead on real estate, he later changed the company's name to Ferinel and became president of the company, specialising in holiday accommodation.
In 1981, Arnault moved to USA with his wife and two children in opposition to the newly elected Socialist's policy of taxing the rich.
Three years later, Arnault returned to France while an unique and risky opportunity was waiting for him. Boussac, a business empire with holding interests in textile companies as well as news paper went bankrupt.
But it owns something else. Christian Dior, the French Couturier's career was entirely backed up by Marcel Boussac, the owner of Boussac which used to be the biggest cotton manufacturer in France, and thus Boussac owns the brand created by the designer who died abruptly in Italy in 1957.
And Bernard Arnault wanted to buy Christian Dior Couture.
On his first trip to the United States, Bernard Arnault went to New York, he took a taxi at the Kennedy Airport, and he talked to the taxi driver who had no idea a casual comment with this French business man would plant the seed of the biggest luxury goods group we are seeint today. When the taxi driver told Arnault he loved France, Arnault asked him what he knew about France, and if he knew who was the French president at that time. The taxi driver's reply: I do not know who the French president is, but I know Christian Dior.
Bernard Arnault bought Christian Dior couture, and thus began his fierce and sometimes ruthless shopping spree of luxury goods companies, from couture to champagne to cosmetics to Carrefour.
As of today, the LVMH owned by Bernard Arnault, who just turned 71, has 75 brands under its name, making it the largest luxury goods group in the world, and making Bernard Arnault the second (for a while the) richest man in the world.