PARIS — Jean Arnault, father of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton chairman Bernard Arnault and a member of the luxury group’s board of directors, died Thursday at the age of 90.

This story first appeared in the January 25, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Funeral services were held at the Saint-Germain-des-Pres church Saturday, said Pierre Godé, Bernard Arnault’s adviser.

Like his son, Jean Arnault trained as an engineer before steering the expansion of Ferret-Savinel, a medium-size construction firm located near Roubaix in northern France.

The company would provide the springboard for LVMH, after Bernard Arnault persuaded his father to sell the core construction division of the company and focus on real estate, changing its name to Férinel in the process.

As president of the newly named entity, Bernard Arnault would go on to build the LVMH empire, which includes fashion brands such as Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Givenchy, spirits makers Moët & Chandon and Hennessy and beauty retailer Sephora.

Jean Arnault closely followed the group’s activities, even though his frail health prevented him from visiting company headquarters in recent months, said Godé. “His son always kept him updated on the latest developments. He has always had a very close relationship with his father,” he said.

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