Stefan Persson took over his father’s apparel business, H&M, in 1982. Although the company went public in 1974, it is Persson who scaled the company to become the global behemoth it is today. Under his leadership, the company has grown to employ 94,000 people in over 43 countries. H&M’s revenues now exceed $16 billion.
Persson was particularly successful in pioneering celebrity and designer collaborations, bringing high fashion names the fast fashion market. Notably, H&M has collaborated with Stella McCartney, Donatella Versace, Karl Lagerfeld, Commes des Garçons, Matthew Williamson, Lanvin, Marni, Sonia Rykiel, Maison Martin Margiela and Jimmy Choo. The retailer’s most recent collaboration, with cult Parisian designer Isabel Marant, will hit stores this November.
He is also one of the founders of the Mentor Foundation, which fights against drug abuse among youth and has the Queen of Sweden and Queen Noor of Jordan among its trustees.
Persson stepped down as chief executive of the company in favour of his son Karl-Johan Persson in 2009, but remains chairman of the company.