Jean-Louis Dumas

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Jean-Louis Dumas
Jean-Louis Robert Frédéric Dumas

(1938-02-02)2 February 1938
Paris, France
Died1 May 2010(2010-05-01) (aged 72)
Paris, France
Alma materInstitut d’Études Politiques de Paris
OccupationBusinessperson, artistic designer
EmployerHermès chairman and design chief
Net worthUS$2.5 billion[1] (2006)
Board member ofHermès
RelativesAxel Dumas (cousin)

Jean-Louis Robert Frédéric Dumas (2 February 1938 – 1 May 2010) was a French businessman who was the chairman of the Hermès group from 1978 until 2006. He also served as the company's artistic director.[2] Dumas is credited with turning Hermès into a global luxury brand during his tenure as chairman.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Jean-Louis Robert Frédéric Dumas was born in Paris, France on 2 February 1938. He also used the last name Dumas-Hermès. His father was Robert Dumas, while his mother was one of Émile-Maurice Hermès' four daughters. Dumas' grandfather Émile-Maurice Hermès had been a grandson of Thierry.[3] Dumas attended the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris, also dubbed Sciences Po.[3] He also traveled in Iran, Afghanistan, and Nepal in a Citroën 2CV.[4] After then traveling Scandinavia and Czechoslovakia while the drummer of a jazz ensemble, Dumas was sent to Algeria to perform his compulsory military service.[3]


In 1963, Dumas entered Bloomingdale's buyer-trainer program in New York.[3] In 1964, he joined Hermès,[3] which his family had founded in 1837.[2] Dumas later became CEO of the Hermès Group[3] and served as the company's artistic director.[2] His father died in 1978, and Dumas became chairman.[3] Expanding into the United States and Asia,[3] he turned Hermès into a global brand after taking in the chairmanship, adding interests in Jean-Paul Gaultier and the Leica camera maker to the company.[2]

In the 1980s Gaultier was working on fashion design in Paris, with Belgian designer Martin Margiela working as his design assistant from 1984 until 1987.[5] He took the company public in 1993, with around 3/4ths of the company remaining family-owned.[3] Jean Louis-Dumas retired as the chairman and artistic director of Hermès in January 2006 due to declining health.[2] He was replaced in the position by his son Pierre-Alexis Dumas.[citation needed]

Family and death[edit]

His wife Rena (née Gregoriadès) Dumas (1937–2009) was a Greek-born architect who founded Rena Dumas Architecture Intérieure in 1972 in Paris.[6][7] They married in 1962.[3] Pierre-Alexis Dumas is their son,[3] while their daughter Sandrine is a film actress.[3]

Jean-Louis Dumas died in Paris on 1 May 2010, at the age of 72.[2] He took photographs throughout his life, and in 2008, Steidl published Jean-Louis Dumas: Photographer, a collection of his photographs.[3]


  1. ^ "Forbes profile: Jean-Louis Dumas & family". Forbes. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Longtime Hermes luxury group boss dies". Agence France Presse. The Independent. 2 May 2010. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m William Grimes, "Jean-Louis Dumas, Chief of Hermès, Dies at 72, The New York Times, 3 May 2010
  4. ^ Horwell, Veronica (10 May 2010), "Jean-Louis Dumas obituary", The Guardian
  5. ^ Leaper, Caroline (15 October 2012), "Martin Margiela", Vogue, retrieved 25 September 2015
  6. ^ "Dumas, Rena" in Mel Byars, The Design Encyclopedia, New York City: The Museum of Modern Art, 2004
  7. ^ Suzy Menkes, "Rena Dumas:Interior Design with a Soft Touch of Simplicity: from Greece, a Heritage of Light, The New York Times, 12 September 2000

Further reading[edit]