Today, François Pinault is one of the richest people in the world, but he did not have the stance when he was growing up. He is the founder and majority shareholder of the luxury goods group, Kering. Pinault’s company owns the fashion brands of Gucci, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, and Yves Saint Laurent. He owns Artemis SA, Joe Concourse, Samsonite, Chato Latour, Christie’s auction house and the Well ski resort in Colorado. He is a major collector of contemporary art. He is the father-in-law of Salma Hayek. Pinault has achieved success beyond what she had imagined as a teenager. He is so successful that he has shown classmates what provokes him to be a “peasant” accent on how much they have underestimated him.
François Pinaul was born on 21 August 1936 in Les Champs-Geraux, north of Brittany, Western France. His father was a timber merchant. Pinault grew up in the countryside. He attended high school at the College Saint-Martin in Rains with high-class children who teased him because his family was considered a farmer and had a rural accent. Due to this bullying, he dropped out of school at the age of 16. He enlisted in the army in 1956 during the Algerian War. When he dropped out of the military in the early 1960s, he started working in his father’s lumber business. By 1963, he was ready to start his own business, and with the help of his family and the credit of Credit Leonis, he established a lumber-trading company. The business took off and he started buying and turning over the struggling companies.
Pinaul took his business publicly to the Paris Stock Exchange in 1988, Pinaul SA, thereafter, he began to shift the focus of business from lumber to retail. He bought majority stakes at several companies, including department store Printemps, furniture store Conforama, mail-order company La Redoute, and book and electronics store Fnac. In 1993, he named the company Pinaul-Printemps-Redout or PPR. Within several years, Pinault began to shift the focus of his company to the luxury industry. In early 1999, Pinault’s company bought a 42% stake in Gucci for $ 3 billion. In the same year, he bought Yves Saint Laurent outright. In 2000, he bought the French jewelery company Boucheron. In 2001, he bought Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen. Pinalt’s son, François-Henri, has run the family business since 2003. The company name was changed from PPR to Kering in 2013.
Pinalt’s second company, Artemis, has a subsidiary called Artemis Domaine and through which the company controls a group of French Vineyards, including Chato Latour, Clos de Tarte, Domaine de Eugenie, Chateau Grillet, and a The vineyard of Napa Valley, California, called Icel Vineyards.
For Pinault’s personal art collection, it includes about 5,000 works by the likes of Picasso, Mondrian Man Ray and Jeff Coons. François Pinault has also owned the Rennes Football Club since 1998.
When Notre Dame burned in April 2019, Pinaul promised $ 109 million towards rebuilding the cathedral.
Pinault has been married twice. His first marriage lasted from 1962 to 1967 to Louise Gautier. She has been married since 1970 to Maryvon Campbell. François-Henri Pinault, his son, has been married to actress Salma Hayek since 2009. 21, 200