Stefan Persson is a Swedish business magnate who has a net worth of $14 billion. Stefan Persson is the richest person in Sweden. Stefan has at times been one of the 15 richest people in the world overall. Persson earned his fortune as the heir to the Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) fashion empire. As of this writing, Stefan Persson holds a 53% stake in Hennes & Mauritz, which is the second largest private label apparel retailer in the world. H&M generates around $24 billion in revenue per year. He previously served as the CEO and then chairman of H&M, which was founded by his father in 1947. Among his other endeavors, Persson owns a substantial stake in the technology company Hexagon AB and runs a privately held real estate company called Ramsbury Invest. Through Ramsbury Stefan owns 19,000 acres of land in Wiltshire, England.
Early Life and Education
Stefan Persson was born as Carl Stefan Erling Persson on October 4, 1947 in Stockholm, Sweden. His mother was Margrit, and his father was Erling, who founded the fashion company H&M the same year his son was born. He has a sister named Lottie. For his higher education, Persson went to Stockholm University, from which he obtained an associate qualification.
In 1982, Persson took over from his father as CEO of H&M. He served in that position until 1998, after which time he became the company’s chairman. In May of 2020, Persson was succeeded as chairman by his eldest son Karl-Johan. He still remains the largest shareholder of H&M, with a 36% stake.
One of the largest international clothing retailers in the world, H&M operates in over 70 geographical markets with more than 4,700 stores. In addition to clothing for men, women, and children, it began selling home furnishings in 2008. The company also runs the H&M Foundation, a nonprofit established in 2014 to fund projects focused on supporting humanitarian and environmental causes within the fashion industry. Persson and his family have donated over $100 million to the Foundation since its creation.
Other Business Endeavors
Among his other business endeavors, Persson owns a large stake in the global information technology company Hexagon AB, which was founded in 1992. Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, the company has made more than 170 acquisitions over the years, including of such companies as Brown & Sharpe, Leica Geosystems, Intergraph, Vero Software, Luciad, and Infor. Persson also runs a privately held real estate company called Ramsbury Invest, through which he owns numerous properties in Stockholm, London, and Paris. In 2009, he acquired the village of Linkenholt in Hampshire, England for around £25 million.
On the philanthropic side of things, Persson co-founded the Mentor Foundation, which works to combat youth substance abuse. He also contributed funds to the creation of a foundation for Sweden’s Djurgårdens IF Fotboll club.
From his first marriage to Pamela Collett, Persson has three children: Karl-Johan, Charlotte, and Tom, all of whom are also billionaire businesspeople. Karl-Johan served as the CEO of H&M from 2009 to 2020, and then became the company’s chairman. Charlotte runs a stud farm and does H&M sponsorships, while Tom works as a film producer.
With his second wife, Denise Florman, Persson resides in Stockholm, Sweden.