On the hunt for Francoise Bettencourt, the richest woman in the world and heir to the L’Oréal empire

Francoise Bettencourt Meyers is, for the second year in a row, the richest woman in the world. With a current net worth of $66.6 billion, this 68-year-old French businesswoman can boast of rubbing shoulders with the world’s great fortunes, ranking 15th on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, ahead of the Walton family, the Mars or Amancio Ortega, among others, and behind Mark Zuckerberg, Carlos Slim or Larry Ellison.

The death in 2017 of Liliane Bettencourt made Francoise, her daughter, the main and only heir to the L’Oréal empire. At that time, her fortune inherited from her was 39.5 billion dollars, which made her position among the 20 richest people in the world and the first woman. Five years later, her fortune has grown by a little over 50% or so.

Born on July 10, 1953, Francoise Bettencourt Meyers is not a person who is characterized by great expense. In fact, whenever she can, she prefers to travel on commercial planes than on private jets. She also often goes for a walk in the Bois de Boulogne park in simple sportswear and some point out that the only luxury she has allowed herself is to eventually go to a fancy Chinese restaurant in Paris.

Her philanthropic activities also stand out, thanks to the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation, of which she is president. This organization, which supports scientific, cultural and artistic projects, participated in the financing of the reconstruction works of the Notre Damme cathedral, with an investment of 226 million dollars.

Francoise and her family (her husband Jean-Pierre Meyers and their two sons Jean-Victor Meyers and Nicolas Meyers) own around 33% of L’Oréal shares. As the world’s largest beauty products manufacturer, L’Oréal owns more than 35 cosmetics, skin care and personal care brands. His major portfolio companies include Maybelline, Garnier and NYX, according to Forbes. In total, the L’Oréal group of companies generated more than $35 billion in revenue in 2021 and has 85,000 employees worldwide.

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L’Oréal, with more than 100 years of life (it was founded in 1909 by Eugène Schueller, Francoise’s grandfather), has known how to renew itself before dying thanks to its rapid adaptation to technology. Recently, she launched a headset to help people choose fragrances accurately.

But more important than its technology incubator, L’Oréal continues to acquire independent brands and form strategic alliances to stay on top of trends. For example, in 2018, the French brand welcomed Jecca, a genderless makeup brand founded by LGBTQ and transgender advocate Jessica Blacker, to its accelerator.

On the acquisition side, LÒréal bought Youth To The People, a California skincare company that uses vegan blends and superfood extracts, in 2021.

In Francoise’s wake

Several women follow Francoise’s trail to become the richest woman in the world. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the second richest woman today is Julia Koch who, along with her brother Charles, has inherited the Koch empire, a Wichita-based American conglomerate with numerous manufacturing subsidiaries. , trade and investments. Julia Koch has an estimated fortune of 56.8 billion dollars, ranking 19th among the richest.

In 20th place is Alice Walton, heiress with her brothers, Jim and Rob, of the Walmart empire. The Walton family can boast of being the richest dynasty in the world, with some 238,000 million dollars at the beginning of the year. Alice has a fortune of $56,000.

One position behind is Jacqueline Badger Mars, who, like her predecessors on the list, has inherited the family fortune, in this case from the Mars family, a global manufacturer of foods of all kinds, both for people (M&M, Milky Way , Mars and Snickers, among others; also Orbit or Juicy Fruit gum) and for pets (Royal Canin, Eukanuba, Whiskas, Chappi and Pedigree). As of today, Jacqueline has a fortune of 49.4 billion dollars.

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