Major stake holder of luxury goods group PPR(Pinault-Printemps-Redoute), Pinault owns or has owned Gucci, Puma, Converse, Samsonite, Château Latour, the Vail Ski Resort, Christie’s Auction House, Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, and Alexander McQueen.
Forbes ranked Pinault in 2008 as the 39th richest person in the world
Francois Pinault was born on Aug. 21, 1936, in Champs Géraux, Côtes-du-Nord. Similar to his arch-rival and fellow Frenchman, Bernard Arnault, Pinault got his start working for his dad’s lumber company.
In 1963 he started his own lumber and construction materials firm Société Pinault (later Pinault SA ). Pinault bought department store Au Printemps SA in 1992 and, after acquiring mail-order company La Redoute, formed Pinault-Printemps-Redoute in 1994 (PPR in 2005).
Pinault’s acquiring a 29.1% share in famed British auction house Christie’s in 1998 began his tendency towards luxury brands.
Pinault is world renowned in the art world for possesing one of the finest art collections in existence. In 2006, Pinault was voted by ArtReview as the most powerful person in modern art.
Pinault’s son Francois-Henri Pinault is the current manager of PPR and better known, stateside, as the twice wed husband and baby daddy of actress Salma Hayek.