Born on October 4th, 1947, Carl Stefan Erling Persson is a businessman from Sweden who has achieved billionaire status. Forbes recognized Carl Stefan Erling Persson for his exceptional achievements in his career, listing him as the most affluent among the 12 billionaires of Sweden and the 17th wealthiest person globally in March 2013.
Persson served as the chairman of H&M, a well-known fashion company, until May 2020 when his son took over the position. Despite this, he still retains the largest stake in the company, with 36% ownership. H&M was established by Persson’s father, Erling Persson, in 1947.
In 1982, Persson succeeded his father as the manager of H&M and held the position until 1998. Furthermore, Persson possesses a substantial ownership interest in the Swedish technology firm, Hexagon AB.
H&M Group, which is widely recognized as H&M, is a multinational clothing company of Swedish origin that specializes in the production of fast-fashion apparel. As of 23rd June 2022, the H&M Group operates in 75 geographic markets and maintains 4,801 stores across various brand names. The company employs approximately 107,375 full-time equivalent positions worldwide.
The organization was established by Erling Persson in 1947 with the inauguration of his first store, named Hennes, in Västerås, Sweden. The store specialized in the sale of women’s apparel. Subsequently, in 1964, another store was opened in Norway.
In 1968, Persson procured the hunting clothing merchant Mauritz Widforss in Stockholm, which resulted in the incorporation of a menswear line in the product portfolio, and the rebranding of the enterprise as Hennes & Mauritz.
H&M became a public company and joined the Stockholm Stock Exchange in 1974. In 1976, H&M opened its first store outside of Scandinavia in London. H&M kept growing and started selling online in 1998, and they registered hm.com in 1997. Their first store in the USA opened on March 31, 2000, on Fifth Avenue in New York City, starting their expansion outside of Europe.
In 2008, the company made a public statement that it would commence sales of home furnishings through various channels. The home furnishing products were initially available for purchase online, but are now sold at H&M Home stores across the globe.
H&M made a new program called “H&M with Friends” that works with other brands like Good American. Good American is a company co-founded by Khloe Kardashian and Emme Grede. Good American products will be shown on H&M’s e-commerce websites in Sweden and Germany.
In 2011, H&M operated a total of 2,325 stores. By the end of August 2012, the company had expanded its operations by opening an additional 304 stores, resulting in a total of 2,629 stores. In September 2013, H&M reached a milestone with the opening of its 3000th store in Chengdu, China.
Fashioning a Legacy
Under Persson’s leadership, H&M expanded from a small Swedish clothing retailer to a global fashion powerhouse, with stores in over 70 countries around the world. Persson oversaw the development of H&M’s business strategy, which included a focus on sustainability and ethical sourcing, as well as the company’s expansion into online retail.
Persson’s impact on the fashion world extends beyond H&M, as he has also been involved in a number of initiatives aimed at promoting sustainability and ethical practices within the industry. In 2013, Persson founded the non-profit H&M Conscious Foundation, which supports sustainable fashion innovations and works to improve the livelihoods of people involved in the industry’s supply chain.
Beyond his professional accomplishments, Persson’s personal style and taste have also had a significant influence on the fashion world. He has been known to favor minimalist, understated clothing, and has been credited with helping to popularize the “Scandinavian style” aesthetic.
All of these contributions and achievements have left an indelible mark on the fashion industry, and Stefan Persson’s legacy as a leader and innovator in the field is sure to endure for years to come.
A Philanthropic Vision
Stefan Persson’s philanthropic work has been an important part of his legacy. He has used his considerable wealth and influence to support a wide range of causes and initiatives, both in Sweden and around the world.
One cause that Persson has been particularly passionate about is sustainability. As mentioned earlier, he founded the H&M Conscious Foundation in 2013 to support sustainable fashion innovations and improve the livelihoods of people involved in the fashion industry’s supply chain. Through the foundation, Persson has supported a number of projects aimed at reducing waste, conserving resources, and promoting fair labor practices.
He has supported medical research and public health initiatives, including the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and the World Health Organization. He has also made significant donations to cultural institutions, such as the Swedish Museum of Natural History and the Royal Dramatic Theatre.
Persson’s generosity has had a significant impact on communities around the world. His contributions have helped to fund important research and development projects, support education and training programs, and provide aid and assistance to those in need. His philanthropic vision has also inspired others to get involved and make a difference in their own communities.