LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault is a powerful guy. A really powerful guy. So powerful, in fact, that he hung out with President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Tony Blair when he made his rounds in DC last week.
The mogul was in town receiving the Corporate Citizenship award from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; he has run LVMH since 1989. In his acceptance speech, Arnault discussed fair trade, LVMH’s commitment to philanthropy, and the corporate giant’s anti-counterfeiting efforts. While he made no mention of his ongoing struggle with Hermès, he did speak to LVMH’s pervasive global influence:
“You can tell time, dress beautifully or wear makeup produced by one of our brands anywhere in the world, regardless of your nationality, your beliefs or your culture. By bringing to emerging countries the very same products that we sell everywhere else in the world, I’d like to believe that, in our own modest way, LVMH contributes to bringing people of the world closer to each other.”
He also made a veiled reference to the Galliano scandal, referencing a “moral code that is nonnegotiable, even if this sometimes means taking very difficult and public decisions because they are simply the right thing to do, whatever the impact on our business.” But what did him and Obama talk about? Jobs and globalization, duh.
“I think [Obama] is really committed to creating jobs in America, and I explained to him that we have created jobs in California with one of our ateliers, and also in Napa Valley, where we are producing wine in America.”
Are we the only ones who find that quote unintentionally hilarious?