Worth more than Melinda Gates and MacKenzie Scott combined – At $93 billion, L’Oreal heiress Françoise Bettencourt Meyers is the richest woman in the world.
- Francoise Bettencourt Meyers is the granddaughter of the founder of L’Oreal and the richest woman in the world.
- Bettencourt Meyers and her family own around 33% of L’Oreal stock.
- She has served on L’Oreal’s board since 1997 and is chairwoman of the family holding company.
- She became France’s reigning L’Oreal heiress in 2017 when her mother Liliane Bettencourt, then the world’s richest woman, died at age 94.
- Bettencourt Meyers also serves as the president of her family’s philanthropic foundation, which encourages French progress in the sciences and arts.
- Together, L’Oreal and the Bettencourt Meyers family agreed to donate $226 million to repair Notre Dame Cathedral following the April 2019 fire.
First we had Whitney Wolfe Herd, the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire and founder of dating app Bumble. Now, Forbes has released its 2021 list of the top 10 richest women in the world – and in first place is L’Oreal heiress Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, with a staggering net worth of US$92.9 billion.
Here’s what you might not know about the 68-year-old…
Her fortune was inherited
Françoise is the granddaughter of L’Oreal founder Eugène Schueller, who formulated a hair dye solution in 1907 that he called Oréale, sold to Parisian hairdressers and later registered as a company – the future L’Oreal.
In 1957, Schueller’s daughter (and Françoise’s mother) Liliane Bettencourt inherited Schueller’s fortune. Together with her husband, French politician André Bettencourt, the power couple soon achieved socialite status in France.
Following Liliane’s passing in September 2017, Françoise became the world’s richest woman – a title she has maintained ever since.
She’s a published author
Despite owning a 33 per cent stake in L’Oreal, Françoise channels her time into something quite different from the cosmetics industry: authoring books. An academic who was raised Catholic, the heiress has penned books on everything from Greek mythology to the Bible.
Back in 1987, she even established the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation alongside her mother to support research in the sciences, arts and humanitarian causes.
She shuns the spotlight
Her parents famously hosted glitzy functions, but Françoise seems to enjoy quite the opposite. Even in her adolescent years, she preferred playing the piano or indulging in books, according to the aforementioned Vanity Fair profile.
She is helping to restore the Notre-Dame cathedral
A fire in April 2019 left Paris’ famed medieval cathedral a scorched shell of its former self. To help in its restoration, L’Oreal and the Bettencourt Meyers family donated US$226 million.