Meet Francois Pinault, the French billionaire who has a $1.2 billion art collection, owns Christie's, and founded Kering, the luxury giant behind Gucci and Balenciaga
- François Pinault is the founder and owner of Kering luxury group, which includes several iconic fashion houses including Gucci and Alexander McQueen.
- Pinault started out working for his family's timber company before eventually entering the retail market.
- Today he is the second-richest person in France, behind Bernard Arnault, and the 23rd-richest person in the world.
François Pinault is tied to some of the biggest names in fashion: Gucci, Alexander McQueen, and Yves Saint Laurent. As the owner of Kering luxury group, his family manages over a dozen high-end brands.
Pinault grew up in the rural French countryside, beginning his career working for his family's timber business. After establishing his own company in Rennes, he slowly moved into the retail market, before shifting solely to the luxury retail market in 2016.Now under his son's direction, the company continues to flourish, especially with rocketing sales for both Gucci and Balenciaga. Gucci was Pinault's first fashion house purchase, and remains one the mogul's most important business deals to date. The acquisition was hard-fought in a battle between rival French billionaire and luxury brand owner Bernard Arnault.
Alongside other major holdings, such as a winery in Bourdeaux and a cruise line in Marseille, Pinault is one of the world's biggest private art collectors. His collection includes over 3,000 works of art and is worth over $1.2 billion.
Keep reading for a deeper look at Pinault's life, from his company's origins to his most recent business investments.