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Top 10 most successful European CEOs

CEOWORLD magazine, a website where employees post information and reviews of their companies and bosses just released its latest ratings of Europe’s top chief executive officers. Who is the best CEO in Europe? Benoit Potier, Elmar Degenhart, Bernard Arnault? There are some familiar faces from companies such as LVMH, Continental AG, and L’Oréal. Well known or unknown, each CEO on our Top 10 is special and they all share a common trait: Success. Here are the top 10 most successful European CEOs. After all, once the best, always the best!

  1. Francois Henri – Pinault
    Born in France, Francois Henri – Pinault is the chairman and CEO of Kering since 2005. Also, he is the president of Groupe Artemis since 2003. Under his leadership PPR transformed into an international group focused on luxury fashion. He merged PPR with the Gucci group, bringing Gucci’s luxury portfolio under his direct supervision. Also, he expanded the group’s portfolio of luxury brands (Girard-Perregaux, Brioni, Qeelin, Pomellato, Christopher Kane, Tomas Maier, Ulysse Nardin) and in June 2013, he changed PPR’s name to Kering. His leadership goes hand in hand with the concept of sustainability. In the early 2010s, he implemented the “environmental profit and loss” accounting method, in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, that was gradually applied to all the brands owned by the group. Furthermore, he launched the Kering Foundation in 2008 to support women’s rights. According to Barron’s in 2019 was among the 30 Best CEOs of the World. His annual earnings are more than 5 million euros.
  2. Ignacio Galan
    He was born in 1950 in Salamanca, Spain. He currently serves as chairman and chief executive officer of Iberdrola, a multinational group. His career at Galan started in 2001. In 2006 he took on the role of executive chairman at the company. As Iberdrola’s chairman and chief executive officer, he obtained total remuneration of 6.17 million euros in 2015, plus shares valued at 3.2 million euros. His annual earnings are more than 6 million euros.
  3. Johan Thijs
    He serves as the CEO of KBC Group since 2012. The total compensation of Johan Thijs at KBC is 1,6 million euros. He is the most highly paid executive at the KBC Group. Not to forget to mention that KBC Group provides bank – insurance services. Johan Thijs is 55 years old and he was born in Genk, Belgium.
  4. Bernard Arnault
    He provides to men and women all over the world with the most luxury goods. For those who don’t know him, Bernard Arnault is the chairman and chief executive of LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton SE, the world’s largest luxury-goods company. In April 2018, he became the richest person in fashion and in December 2019 surpassed Jeff Bezos to become the richest person in the world. His net worth is estimated at 141.9 billion dollars. Also, he is a great philanthropist. Arnault’s family, among other donations, pledged 200 million euros to help repair the Notre-Dame cathedral after a fire. Arnault and his son finalized a 100 million euros donation in September 2019.
  5. Erik Engstrom
    He is the CEO of RELX, a multinational information and analytics company. He serves in this position since 2009. The significant growth of the company justifies the salary of almost 4 million euros he receives. It is worth mentioning that Engstrom since 2009 has not given any interview to journalists.
  6. Elmar Degenhart
    He was born in Germany. He is the CEO of Continental AG. Degenhart studied Aerospace Engineering at the University of Stuttgart and then received his doctorate from the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation (IPA) in the field of clean room technology. His earnings at the company are estimated about 4 million euros.
  7. Bernard Charles
    He is the CEO of Dassault Systèmes,  the world leader in 3D design software and solutions. Bernard Charlès was born and grew up in Brittany, France. In 2019, the turnover of Dassault Systèmes exceeded the limit of 4 billion euros, recording an increase of 16% in one year.
  8. Benoit Potier
    He is the CEO of the French multinational industrial gas company Air Liquide since 2006. Benoît Potier graduated with an engineer’s degree from École Centrale Paris in 1979. His annual compensation usually exceeds the 2.5 million euros.
  9. Jean Paul Agon
    He is the Chairman and CEO of international cosmetic company, L’Oréal. On May 1st, 2021 he will be replaced in is role of CEO by Nicolas Hieronimus because of the age limit of 65 set by the company. However, he will remain chairman of the board. Jean-Paul Agon is the 5th CEO of the L’Oreal Group. Over the course of his time as CEO, L’Oreal has made several acquisitions.
  10. Jacques Aschenbroich
    He is the CEO of Valeo. Valeo’s profits exceed 19 billion euros for 2019. Aschenbroich’s total earnings are estimated at 4.2 billion euros. To address the coronavirus crisis, Valeo has developed the “strongest air disinfection system for buses in the world”, according to the company.
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Maria Gourtsilidou
Maria Gourtsilidou is Senior Editor of Research and Data Analytics at the CEOWORLD magazine. She is responsible for driving thought leadership, using data analytics to showcase the company’s products and services, and fostering knowledge sharing between CEOWORLD magazine and client organizations. She studied Public Administration (Economics Of The Public Sector) in Greece and holds a Bachelor’s in Public Administration from the Panteion University of Political & Social Studies. Follow Maria Gourtsilidou on Twitter. Write at