Francoise Bettencourt Meyers is the richest woman in the world with an estimated net worth of $74.8 billion. She’s also the wealthiest woman in France and the country’s 2nd richest individual after Bernard Arnault. Francoise is the granddaughter of Eugene Schueller, the founder of L’Oreal, the world’s largest cosmetics company. The billionaire together with her family owns about 33% of L’Oreal’s stock which accounts for the majority of her fortune.
Francoise Bettencourt is the only child of Liliane Bettencourt, the daughter of Eugene Schuller. Liliane Bettencourt died in 2017 and was the world’s wealthiest woman at the time. Francoise then inherited her mother’s stake in the cosmetics company and was first featured on the World’s Billionaires List by Forbes in 2018.
According to Companies Market Cap, L’Oreal has a market cap of $191 billion and is the 56th most valuable company on the planet by market capitalization. In 2021 the company had $36.56 billion in revenues. As of 2022, Francoise is ranked the 14th richest person in the world by Forbes. Her fortune has increased significantly over the last two years. Last year she had a net worth of $73.6 billion up from $48.9 billion in 2020. The billionaire was worth about $42.2 billion when she first appeared on the Billionaires List in 2018. A year later her wealth increased to $49.3 billion.
Francoise Bettencourt was born in 1953 to Liliane and Andre Bettencourt. She was her parent’s only daughter. She’s married to Jean-Pierre Meyers and has two sons Jean-Victor and Nicolas. The billionaire is also the chairperson of her family’s holding company, Tethys Invest, and has been sitting on the L’Oreal board since 1997. Her son Jean-Victor is also a board member in the cosmetics corporation after replacing his grandmother Liliane Bettencourt in 2012.
The billionaire with his family donated $226 million to help repair Notre-Dame de Paris after a fire fatally damaged the cathedral in 2019. L’Oreal has donated $1 million to non-profits offering support to refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine. It also suspended its operations in Russia. Francoise lives in Paris.
In 2008, the billionaire sued Francois-Marie Banier, a French artist and photographer for taking money from her mother Liliane. Banier was accused of taking advantage of Liliane’s old age. The artist received gifts worth about €1.3 billion which included a life insurance policy worth €253 million in 2003 and another worth €262 million in 2006 from Liliane.
Francois Bettencourt Meyers also filed a lawsuit to have her mother declared mentally unfit because of the way Banier had extorted money from her. Consequently, a court ruling in 2011 ordered the family’s assets be placed under the care of Bettencourt Meyers and her two sons. The billionaire heiress also serves as the president of her family’s philanthropic foundation, Bettencourt Schueller Foundation.
L’Oreal was founded by Schueller, a French Chemist in 1909. The company was initially known as Safe Hair Dye Company of France and began by selling hair color products. Today it has more than 500 brands and thousands of beauty products which include body and skincare products, fragrances, hair color products, makeups, and cleansers among other products.
According to L’Oreal Finance, The Bettencourt family is the company’s largest stockholder owning a 33.3% stake. Nestle, a Swiss multinational food and drink processing company owns 19.3% of L’Oreal while international institutional investors own a 29.84% stake. French institutional investors own 7.34%, individual shareholders account for 4.62% of the stock, Treasury shares are about 4% while its employees hold about 1.6% of the stock.
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Last year L’Oreal was ranked #387 in the Fortune Global 500. It’s the 21st largest company in France by annual revenue. The corporation employs more than 85,000 employees and has operations around the world. In March 2006 the company acquired cosmetics brand The Body Shop for £562 million. In 2008 it purchased YSL Beaute for $1.8 billion and in 2014 it acquired a major Chinese beauty company Magic Holdings for $840 million. L’Oreal also owns about 10.4% of Sanofi-Aventis, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Some of the other notable acquisitions by L’Oreal include:
- Decleor and Carita brands by Shiseido in 2014 for $312 million. The beauty giant company also acquired the brands Carol’s Daughter, NYX Cosmetics, and Niely Cosmetics in 2014.
- IT Cosmetics in 2016 for $1.2 billion
- ModiFace in 2018
- Youth to the People in 2021.
L’Oreal has its headquarters in the Centre Eugene Schueller in Clichy, France. The building houses the largest salon in the world which as of 2005 had 90 hair stylists who attended 300 women per day. In 2008 L’Oreal was named the top business employer in Europe by the European Student Barometer, a survey that covers 20 countries in Europe conducted by Trendence. It includes the responses of close to 100,000 students.
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In 2009, L’Oreal announced that it was working on reducing water consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and waste by 50% in 10 years between 2005 and 2015. The company announced in 2012 that it had cut carbon dioxide emissions by 37%. It also reduced its water consumption by 24%, and its transportable waste by 22%. The corporation was included in the Global 100 list of the world’s most sustainable companies in 2014.
“Value your time by putting a price tag on it” is one of the quotes by the richest woman in the world, Bettencourt Meyers. Francoise is a billionaire heiress to the fortune of L’Oreal. Her mother Liliane was the richest woman in the world until her death in 2017. Meyers is also an author having published books such as The Greek gods and A look at the Bible.