Antoine and Bernard Arnault.
GEORGES GOBET/AFP via Getty Images
The world’s second-richest person recently extended his run in charge of LVMH.The NYT reports that Bernard Arnault’s family dislikes being compared to the Roys from “Succession.”Bernard Arnault’s five children have a 90-minute lunch with him every week to discuss the business.
Bernard Arnault, the world’s second-richest person, dismissed comparisons to a “Succession”-esque stand-off between his heirs in an interview with The New York Times.
The 74-year-old CEO of the luxury-brands conglomerate LVMH has five children, who all have roles at the company. The eldest, Delphine Arnault, began by selling Dior perfumes aged 17, and is now the director of Louis Vuitton. Jean Arnault, the youngest at age 24, is Louis Vuitton’s watch director.
Since Bernard Arnault has raised the company’s mandatory retirement age to 80, extending his reign, commentators have questioned whether his children will have to battle it out to take over LVMH.
That has brought comparisons to HBO’s “Succession” — the drama series where the children of aging media baron Logan Roy butt heads over who will replace him as CEO.
But The Times, with which Arnault conducted his first interview with an international newspaper, reports that the family “hates this talk, and takes pains to play down parallels to the show.”
When the NYT questioned him directly on this, Arnault “brushed off any comparison to television’s Roys with a wave of his hand.”
“The best person inside the family or outside the family should be one day my successor,” he told The Times. “But it’s not something that I hope is a duel for the near future.”
In the finale of “Succession,” the company is not taken over by one of the patriarch’s children, but his daughter’s husband.
Yet Arnault’s legacy is still a key question, because his entry into the fashion business was shaped by an upbringing in northern France where booming textile dynasties collapsed due to prodigal heirs.
Many of LVMH’s acquisitions were possible because well-known brands had fallen on hard times. Arnault bought the bankrupt company which formerly owned Dior for just 1 franc, per the Financial Times. And his predatory takeovers have earned him the sobriquet “The Wolf in Cashmere.”
He told the NYT that he didn’t want his children going to big parties and made them work. Every month, Arnault’s five children meet with him for lunch on the top floor of LVMH’s headquarters where they discuss the business in intricate detail for an hour and a half.
Jean Arnault told the newspaper: “Make no mistake, we discuss things, but at the end, it’s he who decides.”
LVMH did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.