French fashion billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault has donated $113.1 million (£86.3 million) towards the rebuilding of Notre Dame Cathedral.
The Parisian landmark, which is over 850 years old, was left devastated after it was engulfed by flames on Monday evening (15Apr19), around 7pm local time.
In a statement given to the French newspaper Le Figaro, Pinault, who is the chairman and chief executive officer of Kering, said he hoped that the donation would help to “completely rebuild Notre Dame”.
“This tragedy strikes all the French and beyond all those who are attached to spiritual values. Faced with such a tragedy, everyone wants to revive this jewel of our heritage as quickly as possible,” the statement read. “My father (Francois Pinault) and I have decided to release from the funds of Artemis a sum of €100 million to participate in the effort that will be necessary for the complete reconstruction of Notre Dame.”
Kering owns a number of luxury fashion brands, such as Gucci, Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen, and Pinault, who is married to actress Salma Hayek, is also president chairman of Artemis, the holding company that controls the assets of the Pinault family.
Following Pinault’s pledge, fellow fashion mogul Bernard Arnault, France’s richest man, and his LVMH luxury goods group have donated a further $226 million (£173 million) to help rebuild the iconic landmark, which they called “a symbol of France, of its heritage and of French unity”.
In the aftermath of the blaze, French authorities have announced that Notre Dame has been “saved and preserved”.
“We can say that the structure is saved, notably the northern belfry,” said Deputy Interior Minister Laurent Nunez, according to Le Figaro.
Experts are now investigating how the blaze began, with initial reports suggesting it was linked to renovation work.
The cost of rebuilding the cathedral is expected to run into the billions of euros.
– Cover Media0