10 Most Famous Businessmen In Europe
Ten of the most famous businessmen in Europe present a wide variety in the businesses that they created. This shows that there is no limit to what an imagination, extremely hard work, and excellent marketing can accomplish in order to be extremely successful, often for generations of the same family.
- Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, born December 27, 1947, was the CEO and President of the Danish toymaker LEGO from 1979 to 2004. LEGO was founded by his grandfather. As a child Kjeld was involved in inventing and testing new models of Legos, and he later appeared in company advertisements. LEGO is still privately held and is controlled by the family. Kjeld became the richest person in Denmark.
- Bernard Arnault, born March 5, 1949, is the founder, CEO, and chairman of LVMH, a large French conglomerate of over fifty luxury brands such as Dior and Louis Vuitton. Forbes Magazine states that he is the richest person in Europe, the fourth richest person in the world, and in 2011 is said to have a net worth of $41 billion.
- Albert Frere, born February 4, 1926, is Belgium's richest businessman. As the son of a nail merchant, he had to take over the business when his father died. By age 30 he was investing in steel factories and controlled the region's steel industry by the end of the 1970s. Foreseeing the coming steel crisis, he sold his holdings to the Belgian state and went on to build an investment empire. He received the title of Baron in 2002.
- Karl Wiascheck, born August 4, 1917, was the founder of BILLA, the Austrian supermarket chain. He is one of the five richest Austrians and sold BILLA for 1.1 billion euros in 1996.
- Peter Karl Faberge (May 30, 1846 - September 24, 1920) has a legacy that has lived on. His famous Faberge eggs, in the form of Easter eggs, have gemstones and precious metals attached. Each egg is an exquisite work of art. Faberge was a jeweler to the Russian aristocracy. Ironically, he did not create his spectacular pieces. He employed hundreds of highly-skilled artisans and goldsmiths who could do the exacting work required in the formation of figurines, vases, sets of silver, items with family crests, and other fashionable collectibles.
- Josiah Wedgwood, the 18th century's famous potter, combined his innovative and artistic products with unbelievable marketing. Once Queen Charlotte began using his wares, he billed himself as "Potter to Her Majesty". He later lowered his prices so he could also service a middle class clientele.
- William Lever (September 19, 1851 - May 7, 1925) was a British grocer who put individual pieces of soap into pretty wrappers rather than cut the soap from long bars. He promoted his Sunlight soap as a way for working women to preserve their youth! He founded Lever Brothers, which became one of the world's largest soap-making companies.
- Meyer Amschel Rothschild, the founding father of international finance, created the European House of Rothschild. The British branch was elevated into the nobility at Queen Victoria's request, and five lines of the family were elevated into the Austrian nobility. The family company expanded, through his five sons, into the world's largest private fortune.
- Richard Branson (Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson), born July 18, 1950, began with a record store in London and went on to found the Virgin record label as well as Virgin Atlantic Airways, and so much more. The Virgin Group actually owns over 400 companies. Richard also owns an island in the Virgin Islands and has a net worth, as of 2010 according to Forbes magazine, of $4 billion.
- Ingvar Feodor Kamprad, born March 30, 1926, a Swedish entrepreneur, is the founder of IKEA, the home furnishing retail chain. IKEA is his initials plus Elmtaryd, his family farm, and Agunnaryd, a nearby village. As a youngster, he found that he could buy matches in bulk and sell them individually for a profit. He went on to sell fish, Christmas decorations, seeds, and pens and pencils. At the age of seventeen, when his father gave him a reward for doing well in his studies, he used the money to establish what became IKEA.