PARIS - Francois-Henri Pinault, CEO of a luxury goods conglomerate, made headlines after announcing he and his family would donate $113 million to the rebuilding of the Notre Dame Cathedral after a devastating fire. But who is he?
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According to Forbes, Pinault’s family, led by 82-year-old Francois Pinault, has a net worth of $35 billion. After announcing the multimillion dollar donation to rebuild the historic cathedral, Pinault said in a statement, “The Notre-Dame tragedy strikes all French people, as well as all those with spiritual values and those who care about history and culture.
“Faced with this tragedy, my father and I have decided to contribute to the funds needed to fully rebuild Notre Dame de Paris, in order to bring this jewel of our heritage back to life as soon as possible.”
Married Salma Hayek in 2009
Pinault married Mexican actress Salma Hayek in 2009, but it is not clear when they met, and Hayek won’t say.
“It’s such a romantic, amazing story, but it is mine,” she told Town & Country in March 2019. “I don’t want to vulgarize it by making it into a story to make myself interesting.”
Hayek has said she wanted some level of financial independence from Pinault, despite his wealth.
“I have a system in my life that I’ve chosen, where my expenses from before the marriage are my expenses,” Hayek told Allure in 2015. “I still have my independence. But he likes it. ... And I get a lot of respect from him.”
The two were reportedly set up by friends in 2006. The couple has one daughter together, Valentina Paloma, who was born in 2007.
After the birth of their daughter, Hayek told Allure Pinault pushed her to get back to work.
“I said, ‘I don't think I want to work anymore,’ and it was Francois who said, ‘Oh, no, you're going back to work ... We’re not putting up with some lazy girl in the house. That’s not who I married.’ And then he said something so beautiful,” she said. “‘I don't want to be deprived of your work. I want to watch it, too. And the world has not seen the best of you yet. So you cannot stop until some of that is put out.’ So he sort of really pushed me, like, ‘Get up on your feet and get out there.’ And he was right.”
Revamped luxury brands
A source of much of Pinault’s billions comes from French conglomerate Kering, formerly PPR. The luxury goods company, which includes brands such as Gucci, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Aleander McQueen and others, was taken over by Pinault in 2005 when he became chairman and CEO.
Pinault revamped the conglomerate, spinning off Puma to its shareholders in 2018 and focusing only on luxury goods. The spinoff of the German sports brand paid off, as the brand has had increase revenue, drawing $3.16 billion last year.
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