Mini Succession? Antoine Arnault, Scion of Bernard, Has Been Named CEO of Christian Dior SE

A billionaire’s heirs rising through the ranks of an omnipotent conglomerate: The Arnault children’s movements within LVMH are certainly similar to that of the Roys in the hit TV show Succession. This time, though, it’s the eldest son of LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault in the spotlight instead of Kendall or Roman.

Antoine Arnault was named CEO of Christian Dior SE and vice chairman of its board of directors at the end of last week. The family holding company owns the majority of the Arnaults’ stake in luxury titan LVMH. Arnault will replace veteran executive Sidney Toledano as outlined in a brief statement shared by the company on Friday, December 9.

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The appointment comes after Bernard Arnault’s main holding company, Financière Agache, became a joint-stock partnership last Tuesday. The change in the legal structure of the family’s investment was made to ensure its long-term control of LVMH. All five Arnault children now hold senior positions within the French company.

World's biggest luxury goods company LVMH's CEO Bernard Arnault (L) and his son Antoine visit the world leader for the production of Cognac Hennessy's new bottling plant on October 18, 2017 in Salles-d'Angles. / AFP PHOTO / GEORGES GOBET        (Photo credit should read GEORGES GOBET/AFP via Getty Images)
LVMH’s CEO Bernard Arnault and his son Antoine visiting Hennessy’s bottling plant.

In the case of Antoine, the 45-year-old business school graduate has been an LVMH board member since 2006 and led the group’s communications and environmental initiatives. For the past decade, he has been chief executive of Berluti and chairman of Loro Piana, as reported by Reuters.

As for the rest of the heirs, Delphine Arnault is on LVMH’s board of directors, Alexandre Arnault is an executive at Tiffany & Co., Frederic Arnault is chief executive of TAG Heuer and Jean Arnault takes care of marketing and product development for Louis Vuitton’s watches division.

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 21: Head of French multinational corporation LVMH Bernard Arnault (C) and his wife Helene (2R), pose with their children (from L-R) Frederic Arnault, Delphine Arnault, Antoine Arnault and Alexandre Arnault after the ceremony marking Paris' Iconic department store 'La Samaritaine' reopening after 16 years of closure on June 21, 2021 in Paris, France. The department store was founded in 1870 by Ernest Cognacq and closed in 2005. The building, a Parisian masterpiece of Art Nouveau, is at the center of an ambitious renovation project. After 16 years of closure the building owned by LVMH, a luxury-goods maker, which was to reopen last April, is inaugurated June 21, 2021, due to the health crisis. On a surface of 20,000 m² it will combine a 5-star Cheval Blanc hotel designed by Peter Marino, ultra modern offices, housing units and shops. (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)
Bernard Arnault and his wife, Helene, (center) with Frederic, Delphine, Antoine (left) and Alexandre (right).

Although patriarch Bernard has not publicly named his successor, Antoine’s move into Christian Dior could make him a front-runner. The label, which was folded into LVMH in 2017, now holds 41 percent of LVMH and accounts for 56 percent of the voting rights in the group.

The children could be in for a bit of a wait, though. Their father, who has an estimated net worth of $186 billion, has shown no signs he’s ready to relinquish the top spot. LVMH also changed the maximum age of its CEO from 75 to 80. That means 73-year-old Bernard has a few years left yet.

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