French billionaires pledge over $500m to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral
The LVMH Group, which owns luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Givenchy and is led by France’s richest man, Bernard Arnault, pledged €200 million ($226 million) Tuesday to help rebuild the Notre Dame Cathedral hours after a tragic fire ripped through the iconic church.
“The Arnault family and the LVMH Group, in solidarity with this national tragedy, are committed to assist with the reconstruction of this extraordinary cathedral, symbol of France, its heritage and its unity. They will donate a total sum of 200 million euros to the fund dedicated to the reconstruction of this architectural work, which is a core part of the French History,” the company announced in a statement, making it the biggest benefactor so far in a growing fund dedicated to rebuilding the Notre Dame.
The Christian Post also reports that LVMH Group has also pledged assistance from their “creative, architectural and financial specialists … to help with the long work of reconstruction and fundraising, which is already in progress.”
Francois-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive officer of Gucci owner Kering SA and husband of Hollywood actress Salma Hayek, first pledged €100 million ($113 million) Monday after President Emmanuel Macron launched an appeal to help rebuild the cathedral.
“The Notre-Dame tragedy strikes all French people, as well as all those with spiritual values and those who care about history and culture,” Pinault said in a statement on Twitter. “Faced with this tragedy, my father and I have decided to contribute to the funds needed to fully rebuild Notre Dame de Paris, in order to bring this jewel of our heritage back to life as soon as possible.”
The Bettencourt Meyers family and the L’Oréal Group, a French luxury cosmetics company, also announced a joint donation of €200 million to “participate in the ‘renaissance’ of the Notre-Dame Cathedral,” the “reconstruction of this symbol of French heritage and common history.”
L’Oréal also pledged the assistance of their “86,000 employees who have expressed their profound emotion and wish to contribute to the collective effort for the reconstruction of this iconic monument which inspires men and women around the world.”
Total, a major French oil and gas company, also pledged €100 million ($113 million) Tuesday for the reconstruction. Tech and consulting firm Capgemini has promised €1 million ($1.1 million).