Famous French Business People

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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.
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 1 
Coco Chanel
(French Fashion Designer Best Known as the Founder of 'Chanel' and Her Signature Perfume ‘Chanel No. 5’)
Coco Chanel
4
Birthdate: August 19, 1883
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Saumur, France
Died: January 10, 1971

Coco Chanel was a French fashion designer and founder of the Chanel brand. She is credited with replacing the corseted silhouette as the feminine standard of style with a sporty, casual chic. Her work as a designer redefined the fashionable woman in the era post World War I. She also played a vital role in revolutionizing jewelry, handbags, and fragrance.

 2 
Bernard Arnault
(Chairman & CEO of LMVH)
Bernard Arnault
6
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.

 3 
Evan Spiegel
(Co-Founder and CEO of the Social Media Company ‘Snap Inc.’)
Evan Spiegel
10
Birthdate: June 4, 1990
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

Evan Spiegel is credited with popularizing social media all over the world as he co-founded the popular social media company Snap Inc. In 2015, he was named the youngest billionaire in the world. The following year, he was named in Forbes magazine's list of 400 Richest Americans with an estimated net worth of $4 billion.

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 4 
Arpad Busson
(French Financier, Founder and Chairman of the ‘EIM Group’)
Arpad Busson
4
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 
Edmond James de Rothschild
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Birthdate: August 19, 1845
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Boulogne-Billancourt, France
Died: November 2, 1934

Edmond James de Rothschild was a French businessman with deep connections to the Rothschild banking family. He was a strong supporter of Zionism and donated significant amounts that went towards the establishment of the State of Israel. He also provided funds for the foundation of the Friends of the French National Museum of Natural History Society. 

 6 
François-Henri Pinault
(CEO of Kering (Since 2005))
François-Henri Pinault
4
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.  

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 7 
Liliane Bettencourt
(Principal Shareholder of ‘L'Oréal’ and the Richest Woman of the World at the Time of Her Death)
Liliane Bettencourt
3
Birthdate: October 21, 1922
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 20, 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.
 8 
Carlos Ghosn
(Former Chairman and CEO of the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance)
Carlos Ghosn
6
Birthdate: March 9, 1954
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Porto Velho, Rondônia, Brazil

Carlos Ghosn is a French–Lebanese–Brazilian businessman who served as the CEO of Michelin North America. He also served as the chairman and CEO of Nissan and Renault. In 1999, he saved Nissan from near bankruptcy and turned around its fortune. In 2018, he was arrested in Japan for misusing Nissan's assets. He dramatically escaped from the custody is currently an internationally wanted fugitive.

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 9 
Yves Saint Laurent
(French Fashion Designer and Founder of His Eponymous Fashion Label)
Yves Saint Laurent
2
Birthdate: August 1, 1936
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Oran, Algeria
Died: June 1, 2008

Yves Saint Laurent was a French fashion designer who founded his eponymous fashion label in 1961. Widely regarded as one of the 20th century's most popular and influential fashion designers, Saint Laurent is credited with helping women all over the world find confidence by looking both elegant and comfortable at the same time. His life and career inspired many films.

 10 
Françoise Bettencourt Meyers
(Author and Board Member of L'Oréal)
Françoise Bettencourt Meyers
5
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.

 11 
Olivier Sarkozy
(French Banker and Half-Brother of Former President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy)
Olivier Sarkozy
5
Birthdate: May 26, 1969
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France
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.
 12 
Eric Ripert
4
Birthdate: March 2, 1965
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Antibes, France
 13 
Louis Vuitton
(Businessman)
Louis Vuitton
3
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.

 14 
Henri Fayol
(Industrialist, Management Thinker)
Henri Fayol
4
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.

 15 
Joël Robuchon
3
Birthdate: April 7, 1945
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Poitiers, Vienne, France
Died: August 6, 2018
 16 
Thierry Mugler
(French Fashion Designer Known for Designing 'Demi Moore’s' Dress From ‘Indecent Proposal')
Thierry Mugler
3
Birthdate: December 21, 1948
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Strasbourg, France
Died: January 23, 2022

French designer Thierry Mugler was initially known for his skills in ballet and drawing. He began his fashion career working for a boutique in Paris and later launched his brand. He is known for his peculiar clothes, inspired by birds and insects, and made of metal and crystals.

 17 
François Pinault
(Businessperson, founder of the luxury group Kering and the investment company Artémis)
François Pinault
3
Birthdate: August 21, 1936
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Les Champs-Géraux, Côtes d'Armor, Brittany, France
 18 
Auguste Escoffier
4
Birthdate: October 28, 1846
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Villeneuve-Loubet, France
Died: February 12, 1935
 19 
Greg Lansky
(French Entrepreneur Who Has Directed and Produced a Large Number of Adult Films)
Greg Lansky
3
Birthdate: December 12, 1982
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France

Greg Lansky is a French investor and entrepreneur based in the USA. He is best known for his work as a producer and director of numerous adult films, which he describes as art. In 2014, he founded Vixen Media Group, which went on to become one of the largest Internet pornography production companies. Greg Lansky has won several AVN Awards.  

 20 
Delphine Arnault
(Art collector)
Delphine Arnault
4
Birthdate: April 4, 1975
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine
 21 
René Lacoste
(Tennis player)
René Lacoste
3
Birthdate: July 2, 1904
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: October 12, 1996
 22 
Richard Mille
(Businessman)
Richard Mille
0
Birthdate: February 13, 1951
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Draguignan, France
 23 
Xavier Niel
(Businessperson known for founder, chairman and majority shareholder, Iliad)
Xavier Niel
3
Birthdate: August 25, 1967
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Maisons-Alfort, France
 24 
Daniel Boulud
3
Birthdate: March 25, 1955
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Saint-Pierre-de-Chandieu, France
 25 
James Goldsmith
(Politician)
James Goldsmith
3
Birthdate: February 26, 1933
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: July 18, 1997
 26 
Jean Paul Gaultier
(French Fashion Designer Known for His Unconventional Designs with Motifs)
Jean Paul Gaultier
3
Birthdate: April 24, 1952
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bagneux, France

Known as the enfant terrible of the fashion world, Jean Paul Gaultier wasn’t formally trained in fashion but managed to redefine fashion with his peculiar range of clothes and perfume. He designed Madonna’s cone bra in the 1990s and used material such as corsets and tin cans in his collections.

 27 
Alain Wertheimer
(entrepreneur)
Alain Wertheimer
3
Birthdate: September 28, 1948
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris
 28 
James Mayer de Rothschild
(Banker, Art collector, Economist, Businessperson)
James Mayer de Rothschild
2
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 
Paloma Picasso
(Known for Her Jewelry Designs for Tiffany & Co. & Daughter of Distinguished Painter Pablo Picasso)
Paloma Picasso
0
Birthdate: April 19, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Vallauris, France

Fashion and jewelry designer Paloma Picasso is best known as the daughter of legendary artists Pablo Picasso and Françoise Gilot. She began her career designing costume jewelry for Yves Saint-Laurent and later designed for Tiffany & Co. Known for her signature red lipstick, she also has her own range of perfumes.

 30 
Jules Rimet
(Football administrator)
Jules Rimet
2
Birthdate: October 14, 1873
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Theuley
Died: October 16, 1956
 31 
Raymond Blanc
(French Chef)
Raymond Blanc
3
Birthdate: November 19, 1949
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Besançon, France

Born in small village in eastern France, Raymond Blanc grew up enjoying farm-fresh food. Mostly a self-taught chef, he later launched the double-Michelin-starred restaurant Le Manoir. He has trained chefs such as David Goodridge and has appeared on shows like his own series, Food & Drink.

 32 
Michel Roux
1
Birthdate: April 19, 1941
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Charolles, France
Died: March 12, 2020
 33 
Ned Lamont
(Businessman)
Ned Lamont
4
Birthdate: January 3, 1954
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Washington, District of Columbia, USA
 34 
Jacques Bergerac
2
Birthdate: May 26, 1927
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Biarritz, France
Died: June 15, 2014
 35 
Jean David Blanc
(Entrepreneur)
Jean David Blanc
2
Birthdate: 1968
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: France
 36 
Jean Monnet
(French Politician and One of the Founding Fathers of the 'European Union')
Jean Monnet
2
Birthdate: November 9, 1888
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cognac, France
Died: March 16, 1979

Son of a brandy merchant, French economist Jean Monnet is known as The Father of Europe. He was one of the first to propose a common European market, leading six countries, including France, to form the European Coal and Steel Community, which eventually led to the modern-day European Union.

 37 
Thierry Roussel
(Businessperson)
Thierry Roussel
3
Birthdate: February 16, 1953
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine
 38 
Isabel Maxwell
(Entrepreneur)
Isabel Maxwell
2
Birthdate: August 16, 1950
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Maisons-Laffitte, France

Isabel Maxwell is a French-born entrepreneur best known as the co-founder of Magellan, an early search engine. She studied at the University of Edinburgh. She first worked in film and TV production before venturing into technology, eventually becoming the president of Commtouch, an Israeli internet company. She has been listed as a technology pioneer of the World Economic Forum.  

 39 
Anne Dias-Griffin
(Investment analyst)
Anne Dias-Griffin
2
Birthdate: 1970 AD
Birthplace: France
 40 
Jean-Claude Trichet
(Economist, Banker)
Jean-Claude Trichet
3
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.  

 41 
Jérôme Kerviel
(Trader, Banker)
Jérôme Kerviel
3
Birthdate: January 11, 1977
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cairo
 42 
Dom Pérignon
2
Birthdate: 1638
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Sainte-Menehould, France
Died: September 14, 1715
 43 
Pierre Nanterme
(Businessperson)
Pierre Nanterme
2
Birthdate: September 7, 1959
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Died: January 31, 2019
 44 
Eugène Schueller
(Founder of L'Oréal)
Eugène Schueller
1
Birthdate: March 20, 1881
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: August 23, 1957
 45 
Jean-Baptiste Say
(French Economist and Businessman Best Known for 'Say’s Law' Which He Popularized)
Jean-Baptiste Say
2
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.

 46 
Vincent Bolloré
(Chairman and CEO of the investment group Bolloré)
Vincent Bolloré
1
Birthdate: April 1, 1952
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Boulogne-Billancourt, France
 47 
Jacques Vallée
(Scientist)
Jacques Vallée
2
Birthdate: September 24, 1939
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Pontoise, Val-d'Oise, France

Jacques Vallée is a French computer scientist, Internet pioneer, venture capitalist, astronomer, ufologist, and author. Vallée is credited with co-developing the first computerized map of Mars, which was used by NASA in the 1960s. An influential personality in the study of UFOs, Jacques Vallée has promoted such hypothesis as the interdimensional hypothesis.

 48 
Louis Renault
(Founder of Renault)
Louis Renault
2
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.

 49 
Jerome Jarre
(French Entrepreneur, Creator, Humanitarian and Co-Founder of ‘GrapeStory’, a Talent Agency for ‘Vine’ and ‘Snapchat’ Stars)
Jerome Jarre
2
Birthdate: June 12, 1990
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Albertville, France

Jerome Jarre is a French entrepreneur and humanitarian. Best known for creating interesting content on Snapchat and Vine, Jarre has established himself as a social media celebrity. He is credited with co-founding a talent agency called GrapeStory, which works with Snapchat stars. A well-known humanitarian, Jarre helped raise nearly four million dollars to help Somali people suffering from a drought.

 50 
Jacques Delors
(Economist, Politician, Banker, Trade unionist)
Jacques Delors
3
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.