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Françoise Bettencourt Meyer: Breaking Barriers as L’Oréal’s First Woman with a $100bn Wealth

A Landmark Achievement in Wealth
Françoise Bettencourt Meyers has carved her name in history, becoming the inaugural woman to accumulate a staggering $100bn (£78.5bn; €90.1bn) fortune, as detailed in the world’s richest rankings.

L’Oréal’s Stellar Performance
This financial landmark aligns with the impressive trajectory of the renowned French beauty enterprise established by Meyers’ grandfather. L’Oréal recently celebrated its pinnacle stock market performance in numerous decades, with shares surging to unparalleled heights in Paris.

Post-Pandemic Rebound
The company’s resurgence is evident. In the wake of global lockdowns, during which cosmetic usage saw a decline, L’Oréal has witnessed a commendable rebound in its sales figures.

Meyers’ Wealth Positioning
With a net worth that now exceeds $100bn on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Meyers ranks as the world’s 12th wealthiest individual. However, she trails behind Bernard Arnault, the French magnate behind LVMH, which boasts a luxurious brand portfolio, including names like Fendi and Louis Vuitton, with Arnault’s wealth pegged at $179bn.

L’Oréal’s Leading Lady Serving as the vice-chairperson of L’Oréal’s board, Meyers and her family command significant influence, owning approximately 35% of the company’s shares. She ascended to this influential position following the demise of her mother, Liliane Bettencourt, in 2017.

The Bettencourt Legacy
Liliane, frequently recognized as France’s wealthiest individual, was not just a business icon but also a prominent figure in French society, with close affiliations to its leaders and a penchant for the media spotlight. However, her twilight years were marred by familial discord, particularly with her daughter Françoise. Accusations arose concerning the exploitation of Liliane’s vulnerabilities by external entities. “My daughter could have waited patiently for my death instead of doing all she can to precipitate it,” lamented Liliane in a televised statement.

A subsequent court ruling in 2011 determined Liliane’s diminished mental state, granting Françoise control over her mother’s vast wealth. Concurrently, another family member was entrusted with Liliane’s health and well-being.

Meyers: A Private Persona
Contrary to the glitz often associated with immense wealth, Meyers opts for a more secluded life. Preferring the company of family over high-profile events, she is renowned for her musical prowess, dedicating hours daily to the piano. Furthermore, her literary contributions include a comprehensive exploration of the Bible across five volumes and a detailed genealogy of Greek deities. Tom Sancton, author of The Bettencourt Affair, observes, “She really lives inside her own cocoon. She lives mainly within the confines of her own family.”


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by Paul Britton

Full-time CBG author covering everything from business to wellbeing news, in Cyprus. and abroad.

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