Gérard Paul Louis Marie-Joseph Mulliez (born 13 May 1931) is a French businessman. He is the founder of the Auchan chain of department stores.
Gérard Mulliez was born on 13 May 1931 in Roubaix, France. His father, Gérard Mulliez, was the owner of Phildar, a high street clothing firm founded by his grandfather, Louis Mulliez-Lestienne. His uncle, Louis Mulliez, was the owner of the Saint-Liévin factory in Lille. He has five siblings. His parents went to the 7am Roman Catholic Mass every day.
Mulliez got bad grades at school. He spent a year in England, where he learned to play rugby and pool, and learned to speak English. He failed his Baccalaureate.
Mulliez started his career working for his father's company, working his way up until he became its Chairman.
In 1961, at the age of twenty-nine, after witnessing department stores on a trip to the US, he opened his first Auchan store in Roubaix, France. He retired as chairman in 1996 and as CEO in 2006 handing over control to his nephew, Vianney Mulliez.
His holding Association Familiale Mulliez (AFM) controls Auchan as well as a diverse mix of other retail chains such as Leroy Merlin, Decathlon, Saint Maclou, Kiloutou, Kiabi, Flunch, etc. It is co-owned between a thousand family members. Six hundred of his cousins are millionaires as a result.
He is a member of the Centre français du patronat chrétien and the Mouvement des cadres chrétiens, two Christian business organizations. In 2004, he was the recipient of the Légion d'honneur.
According to Challenge Magazine, he was worth 19 billion Euros in 2013, 20 billion Euros in 2014, and according to Capital, nearly 40 billion Euros in 2016 making him the first richest person in France. According to Capital, the Mulliez family was the richest family in France in 2014. According to Hurun Report, he is 18th richest person in the world with a net worth of US$30 billion. Some of his family members reside in Néchin, Belgium.
He has revealed that he has also spent less than he earns, and reinvests most of his earnings. He added that most of his wealth is tied up in family shares, and he would not be able to spend much of it. He is in favour of taxing annual incomes upwards of 500,000 Euros, but not dividends on investments, arguing that this would scare investors away.
On 21 February 2015, he paid a personal visit to the youth wing of the French Communist Party in Lille to protest a poster accusing him of profiting from the financial crisis, as he got richer while his employees saw their spending power diminish. He argued that he employed a lot of people, adding that by the time he was their age, he had already opened his first store.
Mulliez and his wife have thirteen children. They reside in Croix near Lille and own another house in the South of France. They are practising Roman Catholics. He spends his weekends biking and hiking in the countryside.