Billionaire Arnault Taps Daughter to Run Dior in LVMH Shake Up
Delphine and Bernard Arnault Photographer: Eric Piermont/Getty Images , Photographer: Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images
(Bloomberg) -- Bernard Arnault named his daughter Delphine to run LVMH’s second-biggest brand, Dior, the latest step by the 73-year-old billionaire to elevate his children to key posts in his luxury empire.
The appointment comes a month after Antoine Arnault, the eldest son, was given a wider role in the business, replacing Sidney Toledano as chief executive officer and vice chairman of Christian Dior SE, the holding company through which the family controls LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE.
The moves by the world’s richest man to give his children greater responsibilities have stirred questions about succession at Europe’s most valuable company, though there’s no sign Arnault plans to step back anytime soon. Last year, LVMH lifted the age limit of its CEO, allowing the family patriarch to stay at the helm until he’s 80.
The promotion will give Delphine “more of a front line exposure at Dior,” said Luca Solca, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein.
Shares of LVMH rose as much as 2.2% to a record in Paris trading, valuing the luxury conglomerate at about €388 billion ($417 billion).
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Delphine, 47 and the eldest of Arnault’s five children, has been executive vice president of Louis Vuitton for the past decade, in charge of supervising all of the brand’s product-related activities. In her new role at Dior, she’ll work closely with Charles Delapalme, who now becomes managing director at the brand.
The younger sons from Bernard Arnault’s second marriage are also involved at LVMH. Alexandre has been in charge of products and communications at Tiffany for two years. Frederic runs Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer, while Jean is working to develop the watch category at Louis Vuitton.
Arnault on Wednesday also promoted Dior CEO Pietro Beccari to run Louis Vuitton, LVMH’s biggest brand, which is currently run by Michael Burke, a loyal lieutenant. Burke will keep reporting to Arnault and get new responsibilities, according to a statement Wednesday.
Arnault is worth an estimated $177.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He topped the list for the first time in December and has remained ensconced in that position ever since after surpassing Elon Musk, whose fortune has dwindled.
The reshuffle comes at a moment when both Dior and Louis Vuitton are thriving. While LVMH doesn’t break down financial numbers by brand, the fashion and leather goods unit’s growth had been led by Dior in the third quarter. This division also houses Louis Vuitton as well as Fendi, Celine and other fashion labels.
Beccari in March oversaw the re-opening of 30 Montaigne, Dior’s flagship store in Paris, after more than two years of renovation. By October, the boutique had drawn more than half a million visitors.
As part of the management shuffle, Stéphane Bianchi, chairman and CEO of the watches & jewelry division, will now also oversee Tiffany and Repossi.
--With assistance from Tara Patel.
(Updates with shares)
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