What do Amancio Ortega and Bernard Arnault have in common?
The former are two of the richest men in the world. Amancio is 23rd on this list with an estimated wealth of $56 billion and Bernard leads the list, with $191 billion. Second, they are giants in their fields of activity, textiles and luxury goods. Finally, they bet on their respective daughters to succeed them at the head of the company.
In April 2022, Marta Ortega took over as chairman of Inditex, the holding company that owns brands such as Zara, Massimo Dutti and Oysho. It’s Bernard Arnault’s turn to announce the appointment of his daughter Delphine as CEO of Dior.
Bernard has five children, all of whom work for the company, but Delphine, 47, will be the only one to sit on the 14-member executive committee of LMVH, a holding company whose portfolio includes brands such as Tiffany & Co., Christian Dior , Fendi, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, Loewe, Sephora, TAG Heuer or Bulgari.
The Spanish Marta and the French Delphine not only have in common that they were born in cradles of gold. Both are discreet and focused on the company they inherited.
Bernard Arnault listed, in the Guardian, the qualities of his daughter to succeed him. He has a “sharp perception” and “unparalleled experience” that will enable the brand’s continued development, he argued.
For now, says an analyst at FinancialTimes, “investors do not have a good impression of her”. But people who know Delphine Arnault, heard by the English newspaper, warn of the risk of underestimating her.
They claim he has a knack for working with designers, an idea of what products will work and how to bring them to market and, importantly for a business that derives most of its profit from leather goods, an eye for a successful suitcase.
Delphine Arnault graduated from Edhec in France and the London School of Economics, began her career as a McKinsey consultant and learned the secrets of the luxury industry from two of LVMH’s top executives, Sidney Toledano and Michael Burke. And he uses tricks he copied from his dad, like making surprise visits to the stores.
There’s a special bond, she’s his only child and the eldest, she has a strong personality and can be direct with him,” Toledano told the FT.
Born on April 4, 1975 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, a city west of Paris, she is married to Xavier Niel, a French multimillionaire linked to the telecommunications industry, co-owner of the newspaper Le Monde and owner of a collection of assets which includes the rights to the song My Way by Frank Sinatra. Two children were born of the marriage.
Those who deal with Delphine are delighted with her calm management style and her ability to build consensus rather than impose decisions.
In February, when he takes over as CEO of Dior, he will be challenged to hone these qualities to keep the family business on track and earning highs. Which will not be an easy task, given that the bar will be high. Suffice to say that in the first nine months of 2022, LVMH earned 56.5 billion euros.