Gérard Wertheimer, co-owner of Chanel and a diversified investor in racehorses, wineries, and more, has surged to become Switzerland’s richest person, surpassing the Kamprad family atop the country’s wealth rankings after 21 years, as reported by Swiss business publication Bilanz.
With assets valued around 42 billion Swiss francs ($47.7 billion), Wertheimer’s wealth soared by 9 billion francs in 2022 and an additional 3 billion francs this year, according to Bilanz. Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index estimates his net worth at $44.8 billion, marking a 3.5% increase in 2023.
While Gérard resides in Geneva, his brother and Chanel co-owner Alain Wertheimer resides in New York City, both controlling the iconic luxury brand. Chanel, privately owned and synonymous with haute couture, perfume, cosmetics, and more, continues to dominate the luxury goods market globally.
The Wertheimer brothers, descendants of Pierre Wertheimer, Chanel’s early business partner, faced tumultuous times during World War II when, being a Jewish family, they fled Paris, allowing Felix Amiot to safeguard their stake in Chanel. Their return in 1954 marked their full control over the fashion and fragrance empire.
Gérard’s wealth primarily stems from Chanel, but extends to a diversified portfolio including racehorses, vineyards in France and California’s Napa Valley, and stakes in cosmetic brands like Ulta Beauty and Olaplex.
Chanel witnessed a remarkable revenue surge to $17.2 billion in 2022, up 17% from the previous year, demonstrating strong sales across Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Americas. However, the luxury goods industry is witnessing a slowdown post-pandemic, with competitors like LVMH and Kering experiencing more volatile recoveries.
CEO Leena Nair emphasized Chanel’s commitment to sustained innovation and strategic planning to maintain its position as a frontrunner in luxury, following a challenging period during the pandemic where revenues dropped by 18% in 2020.
The company’s 2022 earnings signaled a substantial recovery from the pandemic-induced downturn, indicating a resurgence in luxury demand but also acknowledging the evolving landscape that luxury brands like Chanel navigate.
This story reflects the resilience and dynamism of both Gérard Wertheimer and Chanel amidst an ever-evolving luxury market.
For further insights and updates on luxury market trends, visit ImpactWealth.Org.