Bill Gates overtaken as world's second richest person

Bernard Arnault

That run ended on Tuesday when the Microsoft Corp co-founder dropped to No 3 behind Louis Vuitton's Bernard Arnault.

French business tycoons have been doing very well this year.

In 2016, he joined hands with Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma and Bill Gates, among others, to set up Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV), a $1 billion fund to fight climate change through innovations in clean energy.

Divorce notwithstanding, Amazon chief Jeff Bezos maintained top billing with a net worth of $125 billion.

Arnault has a net worth of almost $108 Billion USD, and according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Bill Gates only has a net worth of $107 Billion USD. Microsoft (MSFT) founder Gates is worth $107 billion.

Bernard Arnault entered the luxury goods market in 1984.

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According to the same index, Bill Gates could still be holding the first position were it not for his large donations to charity.

Arnault said LVMH was the first large company in France to create a sustainability department, more than 25 years ago, and "Stella will help us further increase awareness on these important topics".

Arnault has installed star designers to make headline-grabbing runways collections, and used the shows as marketing spectacles to sell the real moneymakers: bags, accessories, and perfume that attracted high-end shoppers and offered the mass market an entry into the world of luxury. At the time he was the fourth-richest person on the planet.

Meanwhile, Bill Gates' continued commitment to give away his fortune to charity has also brought his wealth down.

LVHM has a stellar year in 2018, with profits and revenues reaching record numbers.

LVMH's archrival house Kering previously held a stake in Stella McCartney House until the celebrity bought it out in March previous year. There are around 70 brand owned by the conglomerate including Marc Jacobs, Christian Dior, TAG Heuer and Fenty Beauty by singer Rihanna.

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