Françoise Bettencourt-Meyers: heiress to the French L’Oreal corporation
Françoise Bettencourt-Meyers is the richest woman in the world who runs a family business that has grown into a huge international corporation. She is the heiress of Eugène Schoeller, who founded the L’Oreal corporation in 1909. Françoise became at the helm of the cosmetics empire in 2017, following the passing of her mother, Schoeller’s daughter.
The woman was born in 1953 in France. From childhood she was attached to her father, preferring privacy and not craving attention like her mother. Liliane Bettencourt was considered a real socialite and adored the public. Françoise was educated in a Catholic school and had a degree in Jewish-Christian studies. And the woman was successful in her activities, actively engaged in research work and published books.
Unlike other examples of heiresses in the family business, Bettencourt-Meyers earned her status as the richest woman in the world not only through her ownership of L’Oreal stock. She is engaged in the company’s management activities, actively developing the business. Thanks to Françoise, 2019 saw record sales growth over the past 10 years. However, not everything in the biography of the woman happened calmly and smoothly.In 2008, the businesswoman sued the photographer François-Marie Banier. She claimed that the man had fraudulently obtained money from her mother Liliane. The photographer gained the trust of the elderly woman and swindled her out of a billion dollars, and then forced her to rewrite her inheritance. Thus Banier became the heir to the entire fortune of Liliane, and her daughter and grandchildren received only the shares of the corporation. A legal battle ensued that soured the relationship between Françoise and her mother. The latter did not want to admit that François-Marie Banier was a swindler. The court sided with her daughter and declared Liliane incompetent as she had been diagnosed with dementia. The photographer was sentenced to prison. After a while, the relationship between daughter and mother improved, and the elderly lady admitted that Banier had cheated her.
Françoise’s fortune is now estimated at almost $76 billion. In addition to running a cosmetics empire, she is the head of a charitable foundation, which her mother created in 1987. The business lady also supports social and medical projects and develops scientific research. In 2019, Françoise donated $226 million to the restoration of Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral. As before, one of the women’s interests is science, she has written several books on Greek mythology and interpretations of the Bible. Françoise leads a closed lifestyle and does not allow the public and journalists into her family.