The richest men in Europe are also some of the most influential. Some of them control second or third generation wealth, and sit at the head of multinational corporations established by their fathers and grandfathers. Europe’s richest men can teach the world a thing or two about preserving wealth for future generations- an art which they have perfected.
The only key areas not mentioned in this list are technology and pharmaceuticals; but Europe has plenty of high net worth individuals who are well invested in those areas as well.
The list is almost unchanged from that of the previous year; while there have been changes in the individual figures, there is no change as to their positions.
Top 10 Richest Men In Europe And Their Net Worth 2022
1. Bernard Arnault
Net Worth: 158.0 billion
Bernard Jean Étienne Arnault was born in France on 5 March 1949. He is the cofounder of LVMH; the biggest luxury goods company in the world. Aside from being a business magnate, he is also an art collector, and investor.
In the 1980s, Bernard Arnault had the idea to create a group of luxury brands. He worked with Alain Chevalier, CEO of Moët Hennessy, and Henry Racamier, president of Louis Vuitton, to form LVMH in 1987. He then provided $1.5 billion to form the holding company; thus becoming the Chief Executive of the company.
Since the late 80’s to 90’s there have been several attempts to take the company from him, and he has responded by purchasing even more of the company’s shares. He has steered the company into world recognition as the biggest luxury goods company in the world, with the biggest share of the world’s market.
2. Françoise Bettencourt Meyers
Net Worth: 74.8 billion
Françoise Bettencourt Meyers was born in France on July 10, 1953. She is the richest woman in the world; having inherited control of L’Oréal; the biggest cosmetics and personal care company. L’Oreal was founded by her grandfather Eugene Schueller, and when he died the company came under her mother Liliane Bettencourt.
When her mother died, she inherited all her stake in the company plus that which she already owned via the family trust. She is also known as a philanthropist, writer and pianist.
She is an author, with at least 5 books to her name. Her books are mostly bible commentaries making sense of biblical accounts and tying them to history. Her grandfather (the founder of L’oreal) was accused of collaborating with the Nazis, but she married a Jew, and raised her children as Jewish.
3. Amancio Ortega
Net Worth: 59.6 billion
Amancio Ortega was born on March 28, 1936. He is a Spanish billionaire businessman. He is the founder of Inditex fashion group, owners of world renown Zara and Bershka clothing and accessories brands. For a brief period in 2015 he was even named the richest man in the world when his company’s stocks peaked.
He is the second wealthiest retailer in the world, and one of the most influential people in the fashion business. His company has stores all over the world, and employs thousands of people.
4. Dieter Schwarz
Net Worth: 47.1 billion
Brand: Schwarz Gruppe
Dieter Schwarz was born on September 24, 1939. He is one of the most influential people in Germany as Chairman of Schwarz- Gruppe; a company founded by his father Josef Schwarz. He is also the former chairman and CEO of the supermarket chain Lidl, and Kaufland a luxury goods chain.
Dieter Schwarz joined his father’s company “Lidl & Schwarz KG” in 1973. He then opened the company’s first discount supermarket. Seeing that it was a success, he brought the concept of creating a chain of discount supermarkets, and then a chain of luxury goods store.
When his father died in 1977, he took control of the discount chain, and one of his first moves was taking the company outside Germany.
5. Rodolphe Saadé
Net Worth: $41.4 billion
Brand: CMA CGM
Rodolphe Saadé is a French- Lebanese billionaire businessman. He was born on March 3, 1970, in Beirut, Lebanon. Rodolphe Saadé is one of the richest men in Europe; and one of the most influential men outside politics. He is the chairman of the CMA CGM Group; one of the biggest logistics companies in the world.
Rodolphe Saadé is the son famous French-Lebanese businessman Jacques R. Saadé. He studied business at Concordia University in Montreal, after which he ventured into business with his own water cooler company; Dynamic Concept in Lebanon. After proving his mettle with this venture, his father invited him to work at CMA CGM Group.
He held various strategic roles at the company over the years, and in November 2017, Rodolphe Saadé was appointed Chairman and CEO of the CMA CGM Group.
6. François Pinault
Net Worth: $37.3 billion
François Pinault is a renown French billionaire businessman. He is the founder of the holding company luxury group Kering and the investment company Artémis. Kering is a luxury goods maker; it owns the brands Balenciaga, Botega, and Gucci, Venetia, and Yves Saint Laurent.
The Company actually started out as a timber trading company, but Francois Pinault steered the company into retail, and then gradually into luxury goods; using the foundation of the retail outlets already owned by the company. Today, the company owns some of the best known luxury brands in the world.
The company is also well diversified, while Francois Pinault himself has hedged a lot of his personal money into art. He is an avid collector of contemporary art.
7. Klaus-Michael Kühne
Net Worth: $36.8 billion
Brand: Kühne & Nagel
Klaus-Michael Kühne was born on June 2, 1937. He is a German billionaire businessman; the second richest in the country. Klaus Michael Kuhne is the honorary chairman and majority owner of the international shipping and transport company Kühne + Nagel, which his grandfather, August Kühne co-founded.
The company was also chaired by his father Alfred Kühne, before he assumed control. Klaus-Michael Kühne also owns Kuhne Holding AG; with which he owns stakes in transport companies such as railroad companies, shipping companies, and Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Germany’s largest airline.
8. Beate Heister & Karl Albrecht Jr.
Net Worth: $37.3 billion
Brand: Aldi Süd
Beate Heister and Karl Albrecht are German siblings. They control Aldi Süd; the retail company founded by their father Karl Albrecht and his brother Theo Albrecht. The company has been split into two parts, but remains the biggest retail outfit in Germany; and has even become established in other countries across Europe.
Aldi has 11,235 locations made up of Supermarkets, Hypermarkets, Superstores, and Convenience stores. The company employs several thousand people.
9. Giovanni Ferrero
Net Worth: $36.2 billion
Giovanni Ferrero was born 21 September 1964. He is the Executive Chairman of Ferrero SpA; one of the world’s biggest confectionery companies.
He assumed control of Ferrero SpA after his brother Pietro Ferrero died in 2011 in a cycling accident in South Africa. Before then he was joint CEO with brother.
The company was founded in 1946 in Alba, Piedmont, Italy, by Pietro Ferrero, a confectioner. He created Nutella; a paste made of Chocolate and Hazlenut, which is now sold globally. The company was controlled by the founders’ son Michele Ferrero, who in turn handed it over to his sons Pietro Jr, and Giovanni Ferrero.
10. Alain Wertheimer
Net Worth: $31.2 billion
Alain Wertheimer was born 28 September 1948. He is a French billionaire businessman, and a fashion mogul. He is the chairman of Chanel, which he controls with his brother Gérard who chairs its watch division.
Channel is a top fashion brand catering to the tastes of wealthy women who desire to dress elegantly. The company was established by Coco Chanel a French designer in 1910. Alain Werthiemer’s grandfather Pierre Wertheimer was an early business partner of Coco Chanel.
Alain Werthiemer is worth $31.2 billion, and his brother Gérard Wertheimer is also worth $31.2; therefore Chanel is probably the biggest fashion brand in the world.
The richest men in Europe have established brands that just cannot be competed against in terms of global recognition. In everything from fashion, luxury goods, wine, confectioneries, and cosmetics; their products are number one in sales and brand value. It can therefore be said that these men control much of the world’s commerce.