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Top 100: 25. Bernard Arnault

Chairman and chief executive, LVMH

The man at the helm of the world’s largest luxury group (and the richest man in France) became a little richer in 2012, after LVMH posted a 22% rise in revenues for the first nine months of the year as sales in its fashion division grew 8%, driven largely by Louis Vuitton. Bernard Arnault also won the much-hyped public battle between designers Raf Simons at LVMH’s Christian Dior and PPR’s Hedi Slimane of YSL, after Simons’ outstanding debut show. Ever the businessman, Arnault has hired JP Morgan to sell off some of its fastest-growing brands for about €600m (£490m), according to reports. Groupe SMCP, which owns Sandro, Maje and Claudie Pierlot, has been put up for sale by L Capital, the investment arm of LVMH. And LVMH has gradually increased its holding in Hermès, a sore point complicated by legal proceedings.

Don’t mention… Belgium and tax avoidance in the same sentence.

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