Famous French Business People

When Bernard Arnault stepped into the world of fashion, he revitalized French couture and became known as the ‘Pope of Fashion’. Bestowed with France’s highest honor, Commander of the Legion of Honor, he was featured amongst the 100 most influential people in the world. He today heads the French conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, the largest luxury-products company in the world. Mohed Altrad’s Montpellier-based Altrad group is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of scaffolding and cement mixers. Interestingly, this Bedouin-born man’s journey to becoming a billionaire started on a modest note. From having no means to survive and no knowledge of French whatsoever, he rose to become a French business tycoon. Today, Altrad Group has more than 7000 employees and customers in more than 100 countries. In a man’s world, Patricia Barbizet not just survived but persistently sustained. A prominent figure in the French business conglomerates, she served as the CEO of Christie’s in 2014, thus becoming the first female CEO of the company. Since 1992, she has served as the Executive Director of Artemis and is Vice-Chairman of the Board of Groupe PPR and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Christie’s. These French business magnates have shown the world that France is no less when it comes to business. Know more about them and a lot of other French business people, their life, their ambitions, their works and their achievements.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Bernard Arnault

Bernard Arnault.
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Famous As: Chairman & CEO of LMVH
Birthdate: March 5, 1949
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Roubaix

Bernard Arnault is a French businessman and chairman of the luxury-goods company LVMH. Also an art collector, Arnault played a key role in establishing LVMH as a patron of art. In 2006, he sponsored the construction of an art museum called Louis Vuitton Foundation. He also created a competition called The LVMH Young Fashion Designer to students from fine-arts schools.

 2 Christine Lagarde

Christine Lagarde.
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: January 1, 1956
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris, France

Christine Lagarde is a French politician, businessperson, and lawyer. She is the current president of the European Central Bank (ECB), a position she has been holding since 1 November 2019. Prior to this, she was the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). She is the first woman to head both the ECB and the IMF. 

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 3 Edmond James de Rothschild

Edmond James de Rothschild.
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Famous As: Businessperson
Birthdate: August 19, 1845
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Boulogne-Billancourt, France
Died: November 2, 1934

 4 Arpad Busson

Arpad Busson.
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Famous As: Financier, Philanthropist
Birthdate: January 27, 1963
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Boulogne-Billancourt, France

Arpad Busson is a French financier. He is credited with founding the EIM Group, for which he also serves as the chairman. Also known for his philanthropic efforts around the world, Arpad Busson is an ardent supporter of venture philanthropy, which encourages people to operate charity organizations like any other business ventures to maximize the effectiveness of charitable pursuits.

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 5 François-Henri Pinault

François-Henri Pinault.
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Famous As: CEO of Kering
Birthdate: May 28, 1962
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Rennes, France

François-Henri Pinault is a French businessman. He is credited with transforming the retail conglomerate PPR, which was founded by his father François Pinault, into the world-renowned luxury fashion group Kering. Through Groupe Artémis, for which Pinault serves as the president, his family donated $113 million to reconstruct the famous Notre-Dame de Paris.  

 6 Liliane Bettencourt

Liliane Bettencourt.
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Famous As: Businesswoman, Socialite
Birthdate: October 21, 1922
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris
Died: September 21, 2017
Former L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt was the world’s richest woman at the time of her death. She had apparently gifted celebrity photographer François-Marie Banier cash and gifts worth a billion euros, leading her daughter to file a case against Banier later. Bettencourt was also involved in medical and cultural philanthropy.
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 7 Olivier Sarkozy

Olivier Sarkozy.
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Famous As: Banker
Birthdate: May 26, 1969
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Boulogne-Billancourt
French banker Olivier Sarkozy, half-brother of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, is based in the U.S. and is known for his efforts in Sallie Mae’s recapitalization. He has also held prominent posts, such as that of the Managing Director of the Financial Institutions Group at Credit Suisse First Boston.
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 8 Alain Delon

Alain Delon
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 8, 1935
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Sceaux, France

 9 Henri Fayol

Henri Fayol.
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Famous As: Industrialist, Management Thinker
Birthdate: July 29, 1841
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Constantinople, Ottoman Empire
Died: November 19, 1925

Henri Fayol was a French mining engineer, author, mining executive, and director of mines. He is credited with developing a theory of business administration called Fayolism. Along with Frederick Winslow Taylor, Henri Fayol is credited with founding modern management methods.

 10 Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton.
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Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: August 4, 1821
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: France
Died: February 27, 1892

After losing his parents at 10, Louis Vuitton ran away to Paris, where he gained repute as a box-maker/packer, and was even hired by Napoleon III’s wife, Empress Eugénie de Montijo. He then founded the iconic French fashion and luxury goods brand Louis Vuitton, which now operates in 50 countries.

 11 Auguste Escoffier

Auguste Escoffier
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Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: October 28, 1846
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Villeneuve-Loubet, France
Died: February 12, 1935

 12 Delphine Arnault

Delphine Arnault
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Famous As: Art collector
Birthdate: April 4, 1975
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine

 13 Françoise Bettencourt Meyers

Françoise Bettencourt Meyers.
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Famous As: Author and Board Member of L'Oréal
Birthdate: July 10, 1953
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine

L'Oréal heiress Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, the world’s richest woman as of 2020, made headlines when she sued her mother, trying to prove she was mentally incompetent. In spite of being born into luxury, she often ditched parties, and took to writing books on Greek mythology and religious commentaries.

 14 Joël Robuchon

Joël Robuchon
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Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: April 7, 1945
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Poitiers, Vienne, France
Died: August 6, 2018

 15 Ned Lamont

Ned Lamont
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Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: January 3, 1954
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Washington, District of Columbia, USA

 16 Thierry Roussel

Thierry Roussel
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Famous As: Businessperson
Birthdate: February 16, 1953
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine

 17 Jean Paul Gaultier

Jean Paul Gaultier
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Famous As: Fashion designer
Birthdate: April 24, 1952
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bagneux, France

 18 Candide Thovex

Candide Thovex
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Famous As: Freestyle skier
Birthdate: May 22, 1982
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Annecy, France

 19 Basil Zaharoff

Basil Zaharoff
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Famous As: Arms dealer
Birthdate: October 6, 1849
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mugla, Turkey
Died: November 27, 1936

 20 Xavier Niel

Xavier Niel
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Famous As: Businessperson, Entrepreneur
Birthdate: August 25, 1967
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Créteil

 21 Jérôme Kerviel

Jérôme Kerviel
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Famous As: Trader, Banker
Birthdate: January 11, 1977
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cairo

 22 Alain Wertheimer

Alain Wertheimer
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Famous As: entrepreneur
Birthdate: September 28, 1948
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris

 23 René Lacoste

René Lacoste
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Famous As: Tennis player
Birthdate: July 2, 1904
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: October 12, 1996

 24 Daniel Boulud

Daniel Boulud
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Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: March 25, 1955
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Saint-Pierre-de-Chandieu, France

 25 Pierre Nanterme

Pierre Nanterme
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Famous As: Businessperson
Birthdate: September 7, 1959
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Died: January 31, 2019

 26 Jacques Bergerac

Jacques Bergerac
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 26, 1927
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Biarritz, France
Died: June 15, 2014

 27 Jules Rimet

Jules Rimet
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Famous As: Football administrator
Birthdate: October 14, 1873
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Theuley
Died: October 16, 1956

 28 James Mayer de Rothschild

James Mayer de Rothschild
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Famous As: Banker, Art collector, Economist, Businessperson
Birthdate: May 15, 1792
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Frankfurt
Died: November 15, 1868

German-French banker and the youngest child of Mayer Amschel Rothschild, James Mayer de Rothschild. He took over the reins of his family banking firm after the death of his brother Nathan and headed the French Rothschild banking family. The Légion d'honneur winner later also invested in a vineyard.

 29 Patricia Kaas

Patricia Kaas.
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: December 5, 1966
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Forbach

Patricia Kaas is a French actress and singer who has sold more than 17 million records all over the world. Kaas took part in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2009 and finished eighth. Over the years, she has received several prestigious awards, such as World Music Awards and Golden Europa's Female Singer of the Year award.

 30 Anne Dias-Griffin

Anne Dias-Griffin
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Famous As: Investment analyst
Birthdate: 1970 AD
Birthplace: France

 31 Jean David Blanc

Jean David Blanc
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Famous As: Entrepreneur
Birthdate: April 30, 1968
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: France

 32 Paul Marciano

Paul Marciano
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Famous As: Fashion Designer
Birthdate: 1952 AD
Birthplace: Debdou, Morocco

 33 Jacques Vallée

Jacques Vallée
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Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: September 24, 1939
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Pontoise, Val-d'Oise, France

 34 Dom Pérignon

Dom Pérignon
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Famous As: Monk
Birthdate: November 30, 1638
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Sainte-Menehould, France
Died: September 14, 1715

 35 Stephen Girard

Stephen Girard
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Famous As: Sailor, Entrepreneur, Banker
Birthdate: May 20, 1750
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bordeaux
Died: December 26, 1831

 36 Ariane de Rothschild

Ariane de Rothschild
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Famous As: Banker
Birthdate: November 14, 1965
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: San Salvador, El Salvador

 37 Jean-Baptiste Say

Jean-Baptiste Say
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Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: January 5, 1767
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Died: November 15, 1832

French economist Jean-Baptiste Say supported free trade and competition. Scholars of economics know him for his law of markets, which states that supply creates its own demand. He had experimented with many jobs, from being a journalist to owning a cotton mill, and eventually became an economics professor.

 38 Jacques Delors

Jacques Delors
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Famous As: Economist, Politician, Banker, Trade unionist
Birthdate: July 20, 1925
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Paris

Born to a Banque de France employee, Jacques Delors followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the bank later. Educated at the Sorbonne, he became a Socialist Party member. The former French finance minister has also served as president of the European Commission and supported the formation of the euro.

 39 Ludo Lefebvre

Ludo Lefebvre
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Famous As: Restaurateur
Birthdate: April 18, 1971
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Burgundy

 40 Joseph Marie Jacquard

Joseph Marie Jacquard
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Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: July 7, 1752
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Died: August 7, 1834

 41 Guy de Rothschild

Guy de Rothschild
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Famous As: Art collector, Banker, Lawyer
Birthdate: May 21, 1909
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris
Died: June 12, 2007

 42 André Citroën

André Citroën
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Famous As: French industrialist
Birthdate: February 5, 1878
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris
Died: July 3, 1935

 43 Louis Renault

Louis Renault.
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Famous As: Founder of Renault
Birthdate: February 12, 1877
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris
Died: October 24, 1944

Louis Renault was a French industrialist. A pioneer of the automobile industry, Renault is remembered for co-founding the popular automobile manufacturer, Renault Group. Renault is credited with building factories that contributed immensely to the war effort during the First World War; the Renault FT tank, the first tank of modern configuration, was created and manufactured by his company.

 44 Marguerite Steinheil

Marguerite Steinheil
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Famous As: Salonnière
Birthdate: April 16, 1869
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Beaucourt, France
Died: July 17, 1954

 45 Jean-Claude Trichet

Jean-Claude Trichet
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Famous As: Economist, Banker
Birthdate: December 20, 1942
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lyon

Jean-Claude Trichet is a French economist. He was the president of the European Central Bank from 2003 to 2011. Previously, he had been the governor of the Bank of France from 1993 to 2003 under the presidencies of François Mitterrand and Jacques Chirac. A much-decorated personality, he is a Commander of the Legion of Honor.  

 46 Marcel Bich

Marcel Bich
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Famous As: Businessperson
Birthdate: July 29, 1914
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Turin, Italy
Died: May 30, 1994

 47 Sue Nabi

Sue Nabi
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Famous As: CEO of Coty
Birthdate: February 13, 1968
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Algiers, Algeria

 48 Madame Clicquot Ponsardin

Madame Clicquot Ponsardin
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Famous As: Businessperson
Birthdate: December 16, 1777
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Reims, France
Died: July 29, 1866

 49 Alain Soral

Alain Soral
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Famous As: Journalist, Publisher, Sociologist, Screenwriter
Birthdate: October 2, 1958
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Aix-les-Bains

 50 Henri de Saint-Simon

Henri de Saint-Simon
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Famous As: Political Theorist
Birthdate: October 17, 1760
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 19, 1825

Henri de Saint-Simon was a French political, economic, and socialist theorist and businessman. His ideology was the inspiration behind the political and economic movement known as Saint-Simonianism. He left a major influence in the fields of politics, economics, sociology, and philosophy of science. His ideas also inspired and influenced the concept of utopian socialism.