Who Needs the Roys? Bernard Arnault and His Children Are Talking Succession at LVMH

LVMH is one of the most successful companies in the world, and CEO Bernard Arnault one of the richest people on the planet. That leaves some pretty big shoes to fill when Arnault inevitably retires (the mandatory retirement age for the LVMH chief executive and chairman is 80; Arnault is currently 74).

Thankfully, he’s been training his children to take over the luxury-goods conglomerate, as has previously been reported. Now Arnault and his kids are spilling the—limited—details on how succession might play out. For the first time, in an interview with The New York Times, the Arnault family spoke on the record with an international newspaper. And they want to make clear that their family dynamic is nothing like a rather volatile one portrayed on TV: that of the Roy family on Succession.

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“The best person inside the family or outside the family should be one day my successor,” Arnault told the Times. “But it’s not something that I hope is a duel for the near future.”

Arnault’s five children all hold cushy roles within the LVMH empire: Delphine is chairman and CEO of Christian Dior; Antoine is the head of communications and image for LVMH; Alexandre is executive vice president of product and communications at Tiffany & Co.; Frédéric is CEO of Tag Heuer; and Jean is the watch director for Louis Vuitton. But Succession fans hoping the kids are ready to spar in a way similar to Shiv, Kendall, and Roman are in for some disappointment.

The Arnault children share a group chat in which they send each other baby pictures. At Alexandre’s wedding, the other three boys served as groomsmen. And they all get together with Arnault at least once a month for lunch on the top floor of the LVMH headquarters in Paris, where they talk business.

“I know it’s disappointing for a lot of people,” Antoine told The New York Times, “but we actually get on well.”

While the handing over of the LVMH reins may not play out in a way fit for television, it’s still possible that someone other than an Arnault kid ends up taking over. And if that’s the way it has to be, they’re okay with that, too, the Times noted. “There’s the risk that none of us is able to run the business as well as he has,” Alexandre said.

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