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Journalism of Courage

Who is the man to briefly overtake Elon Musk as the ‘richest person in the world’?

The list on which Musk was overtaken for a while was the Real-Time list, that is available round-the-year. It has a ranking system that “tracks the daily ups and downs of the world’s richest people."

Bernard Arnault, Helene Mercier-ArnaultBernard Arnault, Chairman and CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy, and his wife Helene Mercier-Arnault arrive for the State Dinner with President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk was recently taken off the top position on Forbes’ Real-Time Billionaires List for a short period, coming second to Bernard Arnault & family, who own the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton group of luxury brands.

The slight drop in Musk’s net worth was attributed to a fall in his automobile company Tesla’s shares. “Tesla shares, which have lost more than 47% in value since Musk made his offer to buy Twitter earlier this year, were down 2.7%”, reported Reuters, saying Tesla investors are being cautious after Musk’s increased focus on Twitter.

Musk regained his position soon after. With a net worth of $185.4 billion, Musk is now again followed in the Forbes list by Arnault at $184.7 billion. Musk had overtaken Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos in 2021 for the top spot. The number three position is currently held by Indian businessman Gautam Adani, with a net worth of $135.4 billion.

Who is Bernard Arnault?

Arnault is a French businessman, who is currently the Chairman and CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, one of the most valuable luxury products groups in the world. The group owns some 70 companies, including Dom Perignon (wines), Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Marc Jacobs (clothing) and Fenty Beauty by Rihanna (make-up).

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Arnault was born to an industrial family in Roubaix, France. He began his professional career as an engineer and became Chairman in 1978. Then in 1984, he undertook the reorganisation of the Financière Agache holding company. “He returned the group to profitability as he embarked upon a strategy of developing the world’s leading luxury products company. In the process, he reinvigorated Christian Dior as the cornerstone of the new organization,” according to the LVMH website.

In 1989, he became the majority shareholder of LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton. Since then he has been Chairman and CEO of the company. His four children are also involved in the different companies that come under the group.

What is the Forbes list?

Forbes Magazine releases an annual list of the world’s richest people, as it did in April this year, where Indian industrialists like Lakshmi Mittal, Kumar Birla and Shiv Nadar featured. But the list on which Arnault overtook Musk for a while was the Real-Time list that is available round-the-year. It has a ranking system that “tracks the daily ups and downs of the world’s richest people.”


The value of individuals’ public holdings is updated every five minutes when respective stock markets are open. Individuals whose fortunes are significantly tied to private companies will have their net worths updated once a day, and that is why even on a day-to-day basis the rankings may shuffle in the list. A few months ago, Adani ranked second and displaced Arnault on the same list.

First published on: 08-12-2022 at 15:16 IST
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