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The Margin: Who is Bernard Arnault, the world’s richest person with a $210 billion fortune?

The world’s richest person just keeps getting richer.

We’re talking about Bernard Arnault, chair and CEO of the LVMH MC, +1.01%, the French-based corporation that specializes in luxury goods. His net worth increased to $210 billion this week, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index, with a gain of $11.6 billion after LVMH’s stock surged following a good first-quarter sales report.

Arnault now has a sizable lead over Elon Musk, formerly the world’s richest person. Musk’s fortune stands at $180 billion, by Bloomberg’s count.

But while we seem to know a lot about Musk, from his penchant for keeping guns by his bedside to his surprise appearance at a Dave Chappelle show to his frequent attempts at irreverent humor on Twitter, the 74-year-old Arnault, in contrast, keeps a low profile.

Still, it’s not as if the French native has completely escaped public attention. Here are five things we found out about him …

Even if you don’t know Bernard Arnault, you know LVMH’s products

LVMH is a global leader with many familiar luxury names (or “houses”) in its portfolio. Start with the fashion company Louis Vuitton (the “LV” in LVMH), but also add in such other high-fashion brands as Fendi, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs and Christian Dior. Then shift to the realm of wines and spirits — the Moët Hennessy (or “MH”) side of the company, which includes such top-shelf names as Dom Pérignon Champagne, Glenmorangie Scotch and, yes, Hennessy Cognac. But the LVMH empire also encompasses perfume, cosmetic, watch and jewelry brands, to say nothing of a legendary Parisian pastry shop. LVMH also acquired Tiffany for $15.8 billion in 2021.

But Bernard Arnault didn’t begin in the luxury business

He studied at an engineering school in France and then worked at his father’s manufacturing company, which eventually moved into the real-estate business. But Arnault found his way into the retail and fashion worlds when he acquired a French company, Agache-Willot-Boussac, in the 1980s and then turned it into a “treasure trove,” according to the New York Times. Arnault worked with others to establish LVMH in the late ’80s, and within a short while he became the company’s majority shareholder and chairman.

He has his own ‘Succession’-style family drama

Arnault is married and has five children, all of whom hold senior positions with LVMH. There’s been a lot of speculation as to which child might take over the company’s reins, although Antoine Arnault, the son who was named CEO of Christian Dior earlier this year, has been cited as a potential front-runner.

He once owned a jet worth at least $73 million

Talk about flying in style. Arnault once owned a jet — the Bombardier 7500 — that came with four living spaces, an entertainment suite and a kitchen replete with everything from two ovens and an induction cooker, according to an Insider account. And the price tag for such a first-class flying machine indeed starts at $73 million. But Arnault sold the jet after Twitter accounts started tracking his flights. He is now reportedly renting planes to fly under the radar, so to speak, while on the move.

He has a charitable side

Arnault’s most notable gift — at least of late — has been to the Fondation Notre Dame, the organization that is working to restore the fire-damaged cathedral in Paris. His contribution was €200 million, equivalent to about $213 million today.

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