Who is billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault? The man that could save Notre Dame

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Francois-Henri Pinault is not just your average celebrity husband. The billionaire, married to Salma Hayek, is his famed for his luxury fashion empire – which boats Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent on its books.

Now, he’s pledged to donate a generous £90 million to save Notre Dame, which was set ablaze during restoration works on Monday night – leaving the world devastated.

However, the French businessman has now vowed to rebuild it – restoring the 860-year-old cathedral to its original glory.

But who is he and where do his billions come from?

Pinault is the son of a French business mogul, Francois-Henri Pinault and in the past few decades, has become one of the most influential figures in the luxury goods industry and a regular on the front row of catwalk shows.

He began his career at his father Francois Pinault’s company Pinault Distribution, which later became PPR and then Kering, in 1987 and is now its chairman and chief executive.

Salma Hayek and Francois- Henri Pinault wed in 2019

Under his leadership the group sold off its retail assets including high street brand La Redoute and Printemps and merged with the Gucci Group, which oversees luxury brands including Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen, to become one of the biggest players in high-end fashion.

He changed the name of the group from PPR to Kering in 2013 in reference to his Breton roots.

Outside of his empire, Pinault is husband to Hollywood star Salma Hayek. The couple wed in Paris in 2009 and have an 11-year-old daughter named Valentina.

Pinault, 56, has been president of his family’s investment firm, Groupe Artemis, since 2003, and it is this group that will donate funds to help restore Notre Dame Cathedral after it was devastated by fire.

In a statement obtained by French newspaper Le Figaro, he said: “My father (Francois Pinault) and myself have decided to release a sum of 100 million euro from our Artemis funds (the family holding company) to participate in the effort that will be necessary for the complete reconstruction of Notre Dame.”

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