French billionaire Bernard Arnault has solidified his control over the LVMH Group for the next three decades. The transition, originally set to occur upon his passing, has now been triggered by his youngest child, Jean Arnault, turning 25, reported Italy’s ll Sole 24 Ore newspaper. Instead of control shifting to a Belgian foundation, it will move to a limited partnership called Financière Agache.
The limited partnership structure has both general partners with management authority and limited partners with economic rights. In this case, Ludovic and Stéphanie Watine, children of Bernard's late sister, hold the economic prerogative. However, the ultimate control lies with the general partner, Agache Commandité.
Agache Commandité's capital is divided equally among Bernard Arnault's five children, who are prohibited from selling any shares for 30 years, ensuring long-term family control. Bernard Arnault, at 74, remains a director of the company with unlimited powers until he reaches 95.
In the third quarter of this year, LVMH's growth was 9 percent, slightly below expectations due to the Chinese economic slowdown and decreased U.S. demand. Over nine months, the luxury conglomerate reported a 10 percent increase in revenue.
Family-founded luxury brands and groups often keep family members in top roles as they are seen as more committed to the long-term success and legacy of the business, in addition to providing stability, shared vision, trust and control. Their emotional connection to the company's history and values can help maintain stability and continuity. While outsiders may sometimes find it difficult to penetrate leadership positions, it is vital for companies to integrate professional management for fresh perspectives and expertise.