Bernard Arnault, CEO of luxury super-conglomerate LVMH and the second richest man on Earth, has a choice to make.
According to a profile published on Thursday by new York TimesThe 74-year-old corporate titan – who controls 75 top luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Dior, Dom Pérignon, Tag Heuer and Tiffany & Co. – is currently evaluating which of his five children he should choose to inherit his business empire. Could. ,
The decision is a consequential one, one that will likely shape the trajectory of the world’s most powerful luxury player for decades to come. The choice also reflects the centrality of emerging technologies – particularly blockchain – to a major impact on the strategy and image of the dozens of major luxury brands under LVMH.
Arnault’s two sons – Alexandre, 31, executive vice president of product and communications at Tiffany, and Frédéric, 28, CEO of TAG Heuer – are credited with encouraging their father to embrace blockchain technology and NFTs. He has persuaded them to pursue related innovations through LVMH portfolio companies, including Louis Vuitton, Tiffany, TAG and most recently Dior.
If Alexandre or Frédéric were to succeed their father and assume personal control of LVMH, blockchain and other cutting-edge technologies, including artificial intelligence, they would certainly play a more central role in the LVMH-owned companies, which also include Bulgari, Givenchy, Dom Pérignon, Veuve Clicquot, and Hennessy.
Given LVMH’s size and stature, such decisions are likely to influence, if not directly guide, strategy and trends in the broader luxury and fashion industries. But Alexandre and Frédéric are not the only heirs vying for the crown – Arnault’s other three children work in leadership positions at LVMH companies, and were also groomed for those roles from an early age.
Delphine, 48, Arnault’s eldest child and only daughter, serves as chairwoman and CEO of Dior; Antoine, 46, guides LVMH’s image while running fashion brands Berluti and Loro Piana; Jean, 24, heads the watch division of Louis Vuitton.
According to TimesEvery month Arnault gathers his five offspring for lunch on the top floor of LVMH’s headquarters in Paris, which the children take as an unspoken assessment of their readiness to one day take over the top job.
That day may be a long way off – Arnault recently convinced the LVMH board to raise the mandatory retirement age for his CEO position from 75 to 80 – but when it comes, it would appear that the businessman will be ready for his successor. Is appointing a blood disciple. Last year, he reshaped LVMH’s corporate structure to guarantee that each of his children have a 20% stake in the company, and no one can sell any shares for 30 years without unanimous board approval.
Arnault’s children insist that despite frequent comparisons in recent years between them and the ill-fated Royce of the acclaimed HBO series “Succession,” their rapport is certainly cordial.
But like the premise of that show, there can only be one. Which successor to Arnault, if any, will take the reins of LVMH will certainly be a decision that will impact not only the fashion and luxury industries, but also the mainstream adoption of crypto at the highest levels of culture.