Global Economy

Forbes Richest List 2024: Bernard Arnault retains title as World's richest person with $233 bn fortune; Report records 2781 billionaires worldwide

Bernard Arnault, the renowned chairman and CEO of luxury conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, has once again secured the top spot on Forbes‘ World’s Billionaires list for the second consecutive year. With an estimated fortune of $233 billion, Arnault maintains a substantial lead of $38 billion over his closest competitor, Elon Musk. This impressive increase in wealth is attributed to another exceptional year for LVMH, which reported a net profit of $16.5 billion on revenues of $94 billion in 2023.

Arnault’s Remarkable Journey to the Top

Arnault’s journey to becoming the world’s wealthiest individual is marked by strategic acquisitions and visionary leadership. He first appeared on the billionaires list in 1997 with a fortune of $3.1 billion. Over the years, he has transformed LVMH into a powerhouse, acquiring iconic brands such as Tiffany & Co. and collaborating with global stars like Rihanna. In a significant milestone, LVMH became the first European company to achieve a market capitalization of $500 billion in April 2023.Focus on Succession Planning
At 75 years old, Arnault is keenly focused on ensuring the continuity of his legacy and family control over LVMH. In a move to solidify this plan, he has proposed adding his sons Alexandre and Frédéric to LVMH’s board, alongside his two eldest children, Antoine and Delphine. This follows a strategic reorganization in 2022 that equalized the stakes of his five children in his holding company, Agache. This approach aims to secure the Arnault family’s influence over LVMH for generations to come.

Global Trends in Wealth
The global billionaire landscape is experiencing unprecedented growth, with a record 2,781 billionaires worldwide. Their combined wealth has surged to $14.2 trillion, marking a $2 trillion increase from the previous year. Notably, there are now 14 individuals in the exclusive $100 Billion Club, up from just one four years ago. This select group holds a total wealth of $2 trillion, highlighting the concentrated nature of global wealth.

Distribution of Billionaires Worldwide
The United States leads the world in billionaire count, boasting 813 individuals with a total wealth of $5.7 trillion. China follows closely behind, with 473 billionaires worth $1.7 trillion. India has also seen a significant rise in billionaire numbers, reaching a record 200 individuals with a combined wealth of $954 billion.Mukesh Ambani Emerges as Asia’s Wealthiest Individual in 2024
Forbes’ latest update reveals Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries, as Asia’s wealthiest individual, with a staggering net worth of $116 billion. This significant increase from $83 billion has placed Ambani as the sole Asian member of the exclusive $100 billion club.

Rise in Indian Billionaires
The Forbes report also showcases a substantial rise in the number of Indian billionaires, with 200 individuals making the list, up from 169 in the previous year. The combined wealth of these Indian billionaires has surged to $954 billion, reflecting a remarkable 41 percent increase from the previous year’s total of $675 billion.

Other Wealthy Individuals in India
Following Ambani, Gautam Adani secures the second spot as India’s wealthiest individual, boasting a net worth of $84 billion. His wealth witnessed a remarkable increase of $36.8 billion, propelling him to the 17th spot on the global billionaire list. Savitri Jindal, India’s wealthiest woman, also maintains her prominent position, ascending to become India’s fourth-richest individual, with a net worth of $33.5 billion.

New Additions and Omissions
The latest Forbes list welcomes 25 new Indian billionaires, including Naresh Trihan, Ramesh Kanhikanan, and Renuka Jagtiani. However, notable exclusions from the list this time include Biju Ravindran and Rohika Mistry.

India’s Top 10 Richest Individuals

  • Mukesh Ambani – $116 billion
  • Gautam Adani – $84 billion
  • Shiva Nadar – $36.9 billion
  • Savitri Jindal – $33.5 billion
  • Dilip Shanghvi – $26.7 billion
  • Cyrus Poonawalla – $21.3 billion
  • Kushal Pal Singh – $20.9 billion
  • Kumar Birla – $19.7 billion
  • Radhakishan Damani – $17.6 billion
  • Lakshmi Mittal – $16.4 billion

Bernard Arnault’s continued dominance as the world’s wealthiest individual underscores his strategic acumen and the enduring success of LVMH. As he navigates the complexities of succession planning, his vision and leadership continue to shape the luxury goods industry and secure the Arnault family’s legacy in the global business landscape.