Moët Hennessy–Louis Vuitton CEO Bernard Arnault is the Newest Member in the $100 Billion Club

The world has a new centibillionaire, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, and he is not a tech giant or heir to some oil-rich nation. Rather, the newest member of the elite $100 billion club comes from the world of fashion and booze.

Bernard Arnault, the 70-year-old chairman and CEO of luxury goods conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy–Louis Vuitton, is the richest person in Europe, and on Tuesday he joined Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates in the world's most exclusive wealth club. Each of them can claim a fortune of at least $100 billion.

Arnault entered the ranks of centibillionaires this week as he climbed 2.9 percent to a record 368.80 euros per share. His net worth has grown by nearly $32 billion this year—the most on the 500-member Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

In addition to its namesake brands, LVMH is the parent company to liquor and wine labels like Hennessy, Krug, and Veuve Clicquot; fashion brands including Dior, Fendi, Givenchy, and Bvlgari; and makeup retail giant Sephora. It is the top-grossing company for luxury goods worldwide, according to a 2018 report by Deloitte.

France's multibillionaires have added the most wealth among European members of Bloomberg's 2019 ranking, but it is Arnault's fortune of $100.4 billion that now comprises more than 3 percent of France's economy, said Bloomberg.

Europe's centibillionaire forged his way into the luxury goods market by acquiring a corporation that owned Christian Dior.

He sold the company's other businesses and used the capital to buy a controlling stake in LVMH in 1989.

Today, the company's portfolio includes multiple sectors, including wines and spirits; fashion and leather goods; perfumes and cosmetics; watches and jewelry; and retail.

Arnault and his family are among the tycoons who collectively pledged more than $650 million for the reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral after the landmark was ravaged by a ghastly fire in April. He reportedly manages about half of Paris-based LVMH through a family holding company and owns a 97 percent stake in the iconic fashion house Christian Dior.

Earlier this year, Rihanna announced that she'd been working with Arnault and LVMH to launch the Fenty fashion house—a deal that made the singer and actress the first black woman to head a luxury fashion house. She said in a press release in May that Arnault set "no artistic limits" and that she "couldn't imagine a better partner both creatively and business-wise."

In a message written on LVMH's website, Arnault said his company "will continue its strong dynamic of innovation, targeted investments, combining tradition and modernity, long-term vision and responsiveness, entrepreneurial spirit and a sense of responsibility."

Rihanna's brand under LVMH is largely an e-commerce venture, complemented by short-term events, like pop-up shops, rather than a store network. It provides a contrast to the more traditional brands, like Dior and Givenchy, under the conglomerate.

Arnault
French luxury group LVMH Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bernard Arnault presents the group's annual results for 2018 at the LVMH headquarters in Paris, on January 29, 2019. ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images