About François Pinault
He is a French businessman who runs the retail company PPR. He is a friend of former French President Jacques Chirac.
His holding company Artemis S.A., owns (or owned), among others, Converse shoes, Samsonite luggage, Château Latour, the Vail Ski Resort in Colorado, and Christie's auction house. Artemis also owns Executive Life (now Aurora Life) in California, which was sued by policy holders when the company failed.
Pinault owns one of the biggest collections of contemporary art worldwide. On the magazine ArtReview's 2006 list of most powerful people in modern art, he was ranked in first place. In 2006 he obtained the ownership of Palazzo Grassi in Venice to display the collection.
Pinault led PPR through a long battle over control of Gucci, the Italian fashion house, which began with an attempted takeover of Gucci by LVMH, the world's largest luxury goods company. In March of 1999, Gucci asked PPR to acquire an ownership interest in Gucci to help fend off LVMH. The result was a struggle between the two richest men in France, both self-made billionaires — Pinault and Bernard Arnault, the Chairman of LVMH.
The dispute ended in September 2001, when LVMH agreed to sell its shares in Gucci to PPR for $94 a share. As part of the agreement, PPR promised to tender for the balance of the publicly traded shares at a later date. It completed that buy-in in July 2004 and took full control of Gucci.
Auction house scandal:
In 1998, Pinault purchased a majority share of Christie's auction house. In February 2000, A. Alfred Taubman, majority shareholder of rival company Sotheby's stepped down amidst a scandal after the Federal Bureau of Investigation had investigated commission-fixing between the two companies. Pinault was not implicated, but rather it was his actions which precipitated the scandal. He fired Christie's CEO Christopher Davidge over an allegation of extravagant spending. Davidge then admitted the collusion, which had gone on since about 1995, to Artemis' CEO Patricia Barbizet. In October 2000, Sotheby's CEO, Diana Brooks admitted her guilt in hopes of receiving a reduced sentence, and implicated Taubman. In December 2001, jurors in a high profile New York City courtroom found Taubman guilty of conspiracy. He served a year and a day in prison and Mrs. Brooks got 3 months of home confinement and a penalty of $350,000. International law permitted Christie's to avoid prosecution (other than civil penalties).
Mapping the Studio:
"Mapping the Studio" is a show in which the collection of François Pinault is the basis of the exhibition in Punta della Dogana, a second museum in Venice opened by Pinault. Taking place on June 6, 2009, it is coorganized by the curators Alison Gingeras and Francesco Bonami. It includes 300 works from over 50 artists, including Robert Gober, Felix Gonzales-Torres, Mike Kelley, Cady Noland, Sigmar Polke, and Charles Ray. The presentation reflects Pinault’s over 30-year commitment to postwar art and his devotion to a group of contemporary artists whose works he has collected in depth.
Pinault has four children.
List of French people by net worth: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_French_people_by_net_worth
The World's Billionaire, 2007: http://www.forbes.com/lists/2007/10/07billionaires_The-Worlds-Billionaires_Rank_2.html
- 34 Francois Pinault: http://www.forbes.com/lists/2007/10/07billionaires_Francois-Pinault_FUBG.html