The CEO of the French luxury goods company LVMH, Bernard Arnault, has been knighted last week at the British embassy in Paris. Arnault is the first French company leader to have received this honour, which was awarded to him for “services to business and the wider community in the United Kingdom”.
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The LVMH group is the owner of Glenmorangie and Thomas Pink, to name just a few. The biggest luxury goods group in the world also has a substantial share in watches and jewellery brand De Beers. Furthermore, the company has been sponsoring the Central Saint Martin’s School of Art and Design and patronizes the Tate Gallery and the British Museum.
For all these accomplishments, Arnault is now entitled to use the epithet "Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire". With this distinction, Bernard Arnault joins a select group of foreigners that consists of people like Bill Gates, Placido Domingo, Alan Greenspan and Steven Spielberg.
It is a remarkable turn of events: a couple of weeks ago, Bernard Arnault was reviled in his home country when it was revealed he wanted to apply for the Belgian citizenship “for fiscal reasons”.