Francoise Bettencourt Meyers Emerges as the First Woman to Attain a $100 Billion Fortune, Securing the 12th Spot on Global Rich List
Written by Sanjay Kumar
In a groundbreaking achievement, Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, the 70-year-old heiress of the L’Oreal empire, has become the first woman to reach a staggering $100 billion fortune. This milestone not only places her as the 12th richest person globally but also highlights the thriving success of France’s fashion and cosmetics industries.
Bettencourt Meyers’ fortune soared to $100.1 billion, according to the latest figures from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The surge coincided with a record-breaking performance of L’Oreal SA shares, the beauty products giant founded by her grandfather, Eugene Schueller, in 1909. The company’s stocks are on track for their best year since 1998, contributing to Bettencourt Meyers’ remarkable wealth.
While she holds the title of the world’s 12th richest individual, Bettencourt Meyers still trails behind French magnate Bernard Arnault, the founder of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, who commands the second position globally with a fortune of $179 billion. France’s stronghold on the luxury retail sector has propelled multiple affluent families to the forefront, including those behind Hermes International SCA and Chanel.
Despite her substantial wealth, Bettencourt Meyers maintains a low profile, steering clear of the ostentatious lifestyle often associated with the world’s affluent. At 70, she serves as the vice-chair of the board of L’Oreal, where her family holds nearly 35% of the company’s shares, making them the largest shareholders in the £241 billion ($268 billion) conglomerate.
The widow of Jean-Pierre Meyers, Bettencourt Meyers is also the chair of the family’s holding company, Tethys. The firm recently made headlines for its strategic investments, including a stake in French insurance broker April Group and acquisitions in the fashion and healthcare sectors.
Bettencourt Meyers inherited her vast fortune in 2017 following the death of her mother, Liliane Bettencourt, amid legal battles and family disputes. Her dedication to privacy is reflected in her personal pursuits, such as playing the piano for hours daily and authoring two books—a comprehensive study of the Bible and a genealogy of the Greek gods.
The recent success of L’Oreal, coupled with Bettencourt Meyers’ astute management through the pandemic, positions the company for further growth. Consumer Edge Research analyst Brett Cooper anticipates a potential 12% rise in L’Oreal’s stock over the next year, citing the company’s resilient product portfolio and geographic diversity.
As Bettencourt Meyers continues to shape the legacy of her family’s business empire, her influence extends beyond the beauty industry, reaching into diverse entrepreneurial projects through Tethys Invest SAS. With a focus on long-term investments, the subsidiary has expanded its portfolio to include ventures in fashion, healthcare, and insurance, fueled in part by L’Oreal dividends.