Macron awards highest French honour to LVMH CEO at star-studded event -reports

By Thomson Reuters Mar 14, 2024 | 1:34 PM

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron awarded billionaire Bernard Arnault, the CEO of LVMH, the country’s highest honour at a Paris ceremony on Wednesday attended by superstar Beyonce and Tesla co-founder Elon Musk, French media reported.

The reception at the Elysee Palace in honour of the world’s richest man, who was promoted to Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour, had been kept under wraps, with no official communication by the Elysee on social media or elsewhere.

Neither Macron’s office nor LVMH returned a request for comment by Reuters.

Arnault, who built the world’s biggest luxury empire and controls some of the most glamorous names in fashion including Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior, has forged close links with the French president.

The LVMH CEO has opened a flurry of luxury factories across France over the past few years, revitalising rural areas with well-paid jobs making leather goods, which the government has pointed to as testament to the success of its pro-business policy.

Reuters reported in 2020 that Macron had asked his government to help Arnault negotiate a better price to buy the iconic American jewellery house Tiffany, according to several sources. The Elysee had declined comment at the time.

The story was first reported by Politico.

(Reporting by Michel Rose and Mimosa Spencer; Editing by Leslie Adler)