Behind the Mystery: The Man Who Quietly Became the Richest in the World

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Until he surpassed Elon Musk as the wealthiest person in the world, Bernard Arnault was a relatively unknown French billionaire.

World’s Wealthiest Person

Last year, after Tesla’s stock plummeted, Elon Musk was dethroned as the world’s wealthiest person and replaced with a name many had never heard before.

Bernard Arnault, a French billionaire tycoon and the wealthiest man alive per Forbes’ analysis, is currently valued at an astonishing $US223.2 billion ($A322.3 billion).

What makes the enigmatic Mr Arnault so successful and affluent? Who will eventually be in charge of his vast fortune? To uncover these secrets, we must delve into the life of this mysterious figure to better understand where he came from – and who may benefit from his wealth in the future.

A model of patience and restraint, Mr Arnault has worked diligently to construct LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton – commonly referred to as Louis Vuitton – into a prestigious international luxury powerhouse. At 73 years old, he serves resolutely as chairman and CEO of his flourishing organisation.

LVMH currently has an impressive portfolio of 75 brands, including luxury brand Louis Vuitton, Kenzo for fashion and accessories, retailer Sephora and jewellery designer Tiffany.

“Patience is an invaluable trait in our household,” Mr Arnault openly acknowledged in a 2012 TV profile.

In 2022, LVMH’s yearly sales achieved an unparalleled 79.2 billion euros ($A123.8 billion), spurred by overwhelming demand in the US and Europe markets.

During an interview last year, he cautioned, “we can continue to progress, but let’s do so with patience and without haste.”

The businessman recently invested in the French media and described it in a January 2022 Senate hearing as more of an act of patronage.

Mr Arnault shuns the spotlight and does not usually address the public. When people on social media started monitoring celebrities’ use of private jets this year, he promptly sold his LVMH jet.

“The ultimate benefit of this situation is that my destination remains unknown since I’m using leased planes,” he said.

In terms of the future, one can only speculate. But his philanthropic ventures have been noticed. Last year he made a significant donation to support relief efforts in France with LVMH’s perfume and cosmetics brands donating hand sanitiser to health officials.

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