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Bernard Arnault Signals Intent to Lead LVMH Until He Is 80

Bernard Arnault.
LVMH said in a filing that it will seek to raise the age limit for the chief executive officer to 80 from the current 75 at next month’s annual general meeting. (LVMH)

Billionaire Bernard Arnault is signalling he’s ready to extend his tenure at the helm of LVMH.

LVMH said in a filing that it will seek to raise the age limit for the chief executive officer to 80 from the current 75 at next month’s annual general meeting.

Founder and CEO Arnault is 73. The proposed modification shows that he’s “giving himself a longer time horizon to decide” on his succession plans, said Philippe Pele-Clamour, adjunct professor at business school HEC Paris.

An LVMH representative didn’t immediately reply when asked to comment on Arnault’s plans.

Arnault has five children, who all work at LVMH. The eldest, Delphine, 46, is executive vice president for Louis Vuitton, the company’s biggest brand. Then comes Antoine, 44, who runs image and communications for the group. Alexandre, 29, looks after product and communications at Tiffany, which LVMH integrated a little over a year ago. Frederic, 27, heads the watchmaker Tag Heuer, and the youngest child, Jean, 23, is a marketing and development director at Louis Vuitton watches.

Bernard Arnault also has long-term lieutenants with key roles such as Antonio Belloni, a group managing director who oversees strategy and operations and joined over two decades ago. Michael Burke runs Louis Vuitton and chairs Tiffany, while Nicolas Bazire is in charge of development and acquisitions.

The proposed extension is generally positive for LVMH, “as successor candidates would have more time to mature and gain experience and gravitas,” Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Luca Solca said by e-mail.

By Angelina Rascouet

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