Continuing her legacy, for the third year running consecutively, Francoise Bettencourt Meyers – the L’Oreal heiress, daughter of Eugene Schueller (founder of L’Oreal) – has been again named as the world’s richest woman.
According to Forbes, Francoise Meyers is worth $80.5 billion (£64 billion) in inheritance from her mother’s 33 percent share of the cosmetic giant in 2017.
As she started her journey serving on L’Oreal’s board of directors since the year 2017, also she is the chairwoman of the family holding company, her focus are diverse than her business activities.
Her growth as a strict Catholic and the love and faith towards the religion brought her attention to write books on topics ranging from Greek mythology to Jewish-Christian relations.
Francoise also represents herself as the president of her family’s philanthropic foundation which supports the French initiatives in the field of science and arts.
Francoise ranks 11th in the overall 2023 Forbes billionaire list.
If you are in curiosity about how rich she is? Comparatively, Francoise is richest than the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as she beat Mark Zuckerberg’s £51 billion fortune placing Mark at 16th on Forbes list.
If you look at the top list on the Forbes for the world’s wealthiest people every year, it have been dominated by technology entrepreneurs. But the tech company’s volatility in share market has been triumphed by luxury goods even in the recession and the pandemic wave.
American business tycoon Elon Must, owner of Tesla and SpaceX, 51 – was dethroned as the ruler of the Forbes list by the 74-year-old, Bernard Arnault, a french handbag and perfume manufacturer with £169 billion worth a fortune.
Bernard Arnault’s luxury goods institution LVMH owns the world’s most luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Moet & Chandon, Givenchy, and Tiffany&Co.
Meanwhile, Francoise held just 33 percent stake as her family inheritance which upon her mother’s death in 2017, she inherited as sole owner. Before Francoise her mother Liliane Bettencourt was the richest woman in the world.
Francoise’s husband Jean-Pierre Meyers was the director of Nestle and also the main shareholders in the holding company behind a wine firm as they have two children together named Jean-victor and Nicolas.
Family Affairs of Francoise Bettencourt Meyers
Jean-Pierre Meyers is also the grandson of a rabbi murdered at Auschwitz. Rabbi Robert Meyers was brutally killed by the Nazis in 1943 along with the millions in the Holocaust saving 700 million Jews by warning them about their impending arrest by the Gendarmerie in occupied France.
Francoise’s marriage was in the controversy because of her grandfather Eugene Schueller’s hair dye. Eugene was a pharmacist who invented the hair dye, L’Oreal in 1908. Eugene was put on trial for ‘economic and political collaboration’ with the Nazis during the Second World War which later on cleared of the charges by a Parisian post-war court.
However, he is famous for supporting financially and organizing meetings for the La Cagoule group – the violent French fascist-learning, anti-communist and antisemitic group lead by the former founder of a political party Mouvement Social Révolutionnaire. MSR in-occupied France during the Second World War supporting the Vichy collaboration with the Nazi conquerers from Germany.
When the war was ended, he hired several executives from the members of the group which later became the topic researched by Israeli historian and written by author Michael Bar-Zohar in his book Bitter Scent.
As it’s said, if the ends well everything is well. Despite his history, the head office of Hauts-de-Seine, the cosmetics company in Clichy is named as Center Eugène Schueller.
The family roots blended of war history, power, innovation and wealth. Francoise’s socialite mother inherited her father’s wealth. Her mother and former Cabinet minister father Andre Bettencourt were known for organizing exclusive parties. But Francoise prefers writing and publishing books not indulging herself in the glamorous lifestyle. She has written and published two books regarding the Greek gods and the Bible titled – ‘A look at the Bible’.
Being in the money eye has not always been the easiest part of their life. As she made into the headlines about her inheritance in the late-2000s as the topic of sensational trial in France where a man was convicted of manipulating her unwell mother to gain her fortune.
In 2008, Francoise sued Francois-Marie Banier, a French novelist, playwright, actor and a photographer in the allegation of him taking money from her unwell mother.
Francoise started proceedings to declare her mother as mentally incompetent and in 2010 announced that she had settled with her mother and Banier out of court.
But that was not the end of it. According to the evidence, a recorded tabes by Liliane’s staff revealed that she made Banier her ‘sole heir’ excluding the L’Oreal shares which was later removed from her will. And eventually in 1016, Banier was convicted of ‘Abuse of weakness’ of Francoise’s mother. Banier was sentenced for two and half years in prison paying 158 million euros in damages.
Since Francoise mother’s demise, she has enjoyed a more stable life. Francoise has been renowned as a ‘serious minded intellectual’ by the Time Magazine.
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