L’Oréal Heiress Became The First Woman To Amass A $100 Billion Fortune
The heiress of the L'Oreal brand has become the first woman in the world with a fortune exceeding 100 billion dollars.
Francoise Bettencourt Meyers was already the richest woman in the world, but recently she reached a new milestone - the first woman to accumulate an impressive fortune of over 100 billion dollars (specifically, 100.2 billion dollars), according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Bettencourt Meyers, the niece of L'Oreal's founder, Eugene Schueller, is the vice-chair of L'Oreal's board and, along with her family, is the main shareholder, holding approximately 35% of the company's shares.
Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, Whose Grandfather Founded L'Orea In 1909, Became $28.6bn Richer
Her wealth surged when L'Oreal SA stocks reached unprecedented levels, thanks to a rise in the share price of the cosmetics empire she inherited from her mother, who also held the title of the world’s richest woman until her death in 2017.
Although Bettencourt Meyers has surpassed other billionaire women, she is not yet among the top 10 richest people in the world. She is not even the wealthiest person in France. Ranked 12th, she trails behind her compatriot Bernard Arnault, according to the economic publication Entrepreneur.
Arnault, the iconic figure behind LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, ranks second in the billionaires' list with a fortune of 179.4 billion dollars. Topping the world's wealthiest is Elon Musk with a comfortable lead of 238 billion dollars.
Bettencourt Meyers Is A Discreet Billionaire
Unlike other billionaires known for their oversized personalities and opulent lifestyles, the 70-year-old Bettencourt Meyers is much more reserved and introverted – some might even consider her a recluse.
She has written two books, one about the Bible and the other about Greek mythology. She is also a passionate pianist, known for practicing for hours each day.
Despite her attempts to stay out of the limelight, Bettencourt Meyers has made headlines for almost a decade, fighting in court for a portion of her inheritance.
As reported in the 2017 Netflix documentary "L’Affaire Bettencourt," her mother, Lilian, affected by Alzheimer's disease, wanted to give a billion dollars in cash, real estate, and art objects to Francois-Marie Banier, an artist, photographer, and friend.
But Bettencourt Meyers sued him after her mother's death. Eventually, in 2015 Banier was convicted of 'abuse of weakness' of Liliane Bettencourt, prosecutor Gérard Aldigé asserted that he had "imposed his control over her like a spider spinning its web. And once he had her in his net, he never let her go. She became his thing".
On August 24, 2016, Banier's legal team achieved a successful appeal of the initial verdict. Consequently, the original three-year imprisonment sentence was replaced with a four-year suspended sentence, and he was fined USD 411k.
L’Oréal was founded in 1909 by Eugène Schueller, Bettencourt Meyers’s grandfather, to manufacture and market a hair dye he had invented. Now L'Oreal is a 268 billion dollar company.
The company is part of a French tradition of highly successful giants in the luxury products industry. Besides L'Oreal and LVMH, France has given rise to other wealthy families, such as the owners of Hermes International SCA and the Wertheimer family, who own Chanel.
L’Oréal slogan “Because I’m Worth It” has toured the world, represented by celebrities and supermodels such as Cindy Crawford, Beyoncé and Penelope Cruz.