ARNAULT HONORS: LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton chief Bernard Arnault has been elevated to Commander of the Legion of Honor by France’s ministry of economy, finance and industry for service to his country. The luxury magnate, who owns brands from Louis Vuitton to Dom Perignon, was previously an Officer of the Legion of Honor, the merit system created by Napoleon Bonaparte. Arnault’s promotion was part of the government’s traditional New Year honors.

GOLD MINED: Welsh gold, the most valuable precious metal, is expected to run out. Roland Phelps, managing director of Welsh Gold plc, the last remaining commercial miner of the material, said last week that supplies would be fully expended within three to six months. The metal, popular with royals including Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret, the Princess of Wales, and the Duchess of Cornwall, has been scarce for the last 30 years, and was only available until recently by reworking surface tips at mines in North Wales. “It’s always been sought after,” said Phelps, who took over the mine in the Nineties, before closing it in 1999 due to dwindling supplies. The company is now moving its attention to the Irish project Galantas, which is currently developing Ireland’s first gold mine in Omagh, said Phelps.

FAMILY AFFAIRS: Tobias Forster, chief designer and co-partner in the St. Gallen fabric house Forster Rohner, said he had sold his shares in the company to his eldest brother, Ueli Forster, to ensure the business remains family-operated. Tobias Forster, who has been active in the firm for 43 years, also stepped down from the board and management. Simultaneously, Ueli Forster, who has been with Forster Rohner for 42 years, passed on the chief executive officer role to his son Emanuel Forster. Ueli Forster remains chairman of the board of Forster Rohner AG, the parent of the Forster Rohner Group. In his new role, Emanuel Forster continues to oversee marketing and sales as well as the executive management of the group. All changes were effective Jan. 1.

This story first appeared in the January 4, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.