Bernard Arnault, the billionaire head of luxury conglomerate LVMH, revealed that his family is donating 10 million euros ($10.7 million) to Restos du Coeur, a French food bank.
Translating to “Restaurants of the Heart,” the charity provides 35 percent of France’s food aid.
“Through this act of solidarity, the Arnault family wishes to actively contribute to helping a magnificent general interest association that has been working continuously for nearly 40 years to assist the most vulnerable,” said Arnault and his family in a statement. Restos du Coeur has reportedly been forced to cut back its services in recent months amid budgetary issues stemming from inflation. The donation was made shortly after Arnault learned of the non-profit’s “significant financial difficulties.”
This isn’t the first time Arnault, the world’s second richest person (with an estimated net worth of $196 billion) has centered his philanthropic efforts in France.
He previously pledged $226 million toward the reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral, one-upping the $112 million pledge made by Francois Pinault, founder of luxury conglomerate Kering, LVMH’s primary rival. Arnault additionally made a multi-million-dollar donation toward French hospitals during the Covid-19 pandemic, and earlier this year funded France’s $47 million acquisition of a Gustave Caillebotte painting.
His other philanthropic contributions have included an $11 million gift in 2019 toward organizations fighting Amazon wildfires.
Bernard Arnault is Chairman and CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton, the world’s leading luxury products group.
Born to an industrial family in Roubaix, France on March 5, 1949, Mr. Arnault attended the Roubaix lycée and the Faidherbe lycée in Lille. He then went on to study at the Ecole Polytechnique.
He began his professional career that year as an engineer with the Ferret-Savinel construction company and successively was promoted to various executive management positions before becoming Chairman in 1978.
Mr. Arnault remained there until 1984, when he undertook the reorganization of the Financière Agache holding company. He returned the group to profitability as he embarked upon a strategy of developing the world’s leading luxury products company. In the process, he reinvigorated Christian Dior as the cornerstone of the new organization.
In 1989, Mr. Arnault became the majority shareholder of LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton, creating the world’s leading luxury products group. Mr. Arnault has been Chairman and CEO of the company since that date.
Mr. Arnault is also President of the Board of Directors of Groupe Arnault S.E. (his family holding company).
Mr. Arnault is married and has five children.
He has been awarded the honorary titles of Grand Officier de la Légion d’Honneur and Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres.