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 Edmond James de Rothschild

Edmond James de Rothschild
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Famous As: Businessperson
Birthdate: August 19, 1845
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: French
Died: November 2, 1934

 2 François-Henri Pinault

François-Henri Pinault
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Famous As: CEO of Kering
Birthdate: May 28, 1962
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: French

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.  

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 3 Bernard Arnault

Bernard Arnault
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Famous As: Chairman & CEO of LMVH
Birthdate: March 5, 1949
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: French

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.

 4 Olivier Sarkozy

Olivier Sarkozy
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Famous As: Banker
Birthdate: May 26, 1969
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: French
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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 5 Christine Lagarde

Christine Lagarde
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Famous As: Economist, Lawyer, Diplomat, Politician, Synchronized swimmer, Banker
Birthdate: January 1, 1956
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: French

 6 Arpad Busson

Arpad Busson
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Famous As: Financier, Philanthropist
Birthdate: January 27, 1963
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: French

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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 7 Liliane Bettencourt

Liliane Bettencourt
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Famous As: Businesswoman, Socialite
Birthdate: October 21, 1922
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: French
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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 8 Henri Fayol

Henri Fayol
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Famous As: Industrialist, Management Thinker
Birthdate: July 29, 1841
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: French
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.

 9 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
Nationality: French

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.

 10 Joël Robuchon

Joël Robuchon
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Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: April 7, 1945
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: French
Died: August 6, 2018

 11 Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton
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Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: August 4, 1821
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: French
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.

 12 Auguste Escoffier

Auguste Escoffier
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Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: October 28, 1846
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: French
Died: February 12, 1935

 13 Delphine Arnault

Delphine Arnault
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Famous As: Art collector
Birthdate: April 4, 1975
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: French

 14 Ned Lamont

Ned Lamont
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Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: January 3, 1954
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: French, American

 15 Thierry Roussel

Thierry Roussel
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Famous As: Businessperson
Birthdate: February 16, 1953
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: French

 16 Jean Paul Gaultier

Jean Paul Gaultier
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Famous As: Fashion designer
Birthdate: April 24, 1952
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: French

 17 Candide Thovex

Candide Thovex
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Famous As: Freestyle skier
Birthdate: May 22, 1982
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: French

 18 Basil Zaharoff

Basil Zaharoff
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Famous As: Arms dealer
Birthdate: October 6, 1849
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: French, Greek, Turkish
Died: November 27, 1936

 19 Xavier Niel

Xavier Niel
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Famous As: Businessperson, Entrepreneur
Birthdate: August 25, 1967
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: French

 20 Adam Senn

Adam Senn
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Famous As: Restaurateur, Television actor, Model
Birthdate: April 10, 1984
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: French

 21 Alain Wertheimer

Alain Wertheimer
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Famous As: entrepreneur
Birthdate: September 28, 1948
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: French

 22 Pierre Nanterme

Pierre Nanterme
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Famous As: Businessperson
Birthdate: September 7, 1959
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: French
Died: January 31, 2019

 23 Daniel Boulud

Daniel Boulud
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Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: March 25, 1955
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: French

 24 Jérôme Kerviel

Jérôme Kerviel
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Famous As: Trader, Banker
Birthdate: January 11, 1977
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: French

 25 Jules Rimet

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

 26 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
Nationality: French
Died: November 15, 1868

 27 Paul Marciano

Paul Marciano
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Famous As: Fashion Designer
Birthdate: 1952 AD
Nationality: French, Moroccan, American

 28 Patricia Kaas

Patricia Kaas
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: December 5, 1966
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: French

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.

 29 Jean-Baptiste Say

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

 30 Stephen Girard

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

 31 Jacques Delors

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

 32 Ludo Lefebvre

Ludo Lefebvre
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Famous As: Restaurateur
Birthdate: April 18, 1971
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: French

 33 Henri de Saint-Simon

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

 34 Jacques Attali

Jacques Attali
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Famous As: Economist, Banker, Writer, Engineer, University teacher, Musicologist
Birthdate: November 1, 1943
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: French

 35 Joseph Marie Jacquard

Joseph Marie Jacquard
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Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: July 7, 1752
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: French
Died: August 7, 1834

 36 Guy de Rothschild

Guy de Rothschild
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Famous As: Art collector, Banker, Lawyer
Birthdate: May 21, 1909
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: French
Died: June 12, 2007

 37 Jean-Claude Trichet

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

 38 André Citroën

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

 39 Louis Renault

Louis Renault
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Famous As: Founder of Renault
Birthdate: February 12, 1877
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: French
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.

 40 Paul Ricard

Paul Ricard
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Famous As: Industrialist
Birthdate: July 9, 1909
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: French
Died: November 7, 1997

 41 Alain Soral

Alain Soral
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Famous As: Journalist, Publisher, Sociologist, Screenwriter
Birthdate: October 2, 1958
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Swiss, French

 42 Eric Boullier

Eric Boullier
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Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: November 9, 1973
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: French

 43 Benoît Violier

Benoît Violier
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Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: August 22, 1971
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: Swiss, French
Died: January 31, 2016

 44 Philippe Chatrier

Philippe Chatrier
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Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: February 2, 1928
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: French
Died: June 22, 2000

 45 Samuel D. Waksal

Samuel D. Waksal
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Famous As: CEO
Birthdate: September 8, 1947
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: French

 46 Octave Chanute

Octave Chanute
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Famous As: Civil engineer
Birthdate: February 18, 1832
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: French
Died: November 23, 1910

 47 Claudie Haigneré

Claudie Haigneré
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Famous As: Doctor
Birthdate: May 13, 1957
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: French

 48 François Coty

François Coty
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Famous As: Perfumer
Birthdate: May 3, 1874
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: French
Died: July 25, 1934

 49 Albert Kahn (Banker)

Albert Kahn (Banker)
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Birthdate: March 3, 1860
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: French
Died: November 14, 1940

 50 Robert I Estienne

Robert I Estienne
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Famous As: Publisher
Birthdate: 1503 AD
Nationality: French
Died: September 7, 1559