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Françoise Bettencourt Meyers - The Future of Global Wealth is Female

Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, the French business titan and the heiress to the L’oreal cosmetics empire has made history by becoming the first woman to amass the fortune of $100 billion. This remarkable achievement solidifies her position as the richest woman in the world and the 12th wealthiest individual globally according to the Bloomberg Billionaires index.


An Illustration on Françoise Bettencourt Meyers - The Future of Global Wealth is Female

Illustration by The Geostrata


But Bettencourt is far more than just a staggering number on the rich list, she embodies a seismic shift in the landscape of global wealth and females’ influence over it. From inheriting a legacy of beauty and business prowess to carving out her own formidable path in the male dominated world, Bettencourt’s ascent is not only a testament to her strategic genius but also a beacon of inspiration for women everywhere.


Bettencourt’s net worth has been ascending with unwavering momentum propelled by extraordinary resurgence of L’Oreal’s stock market performance.The company’s sales have flourished remarkably since the covid 19 pandemic when the world came to an unforeseen standstill. Since the consumers’ indulgence in pre-pandemic luxury habits has rekindled, so has the value of her stakes in the company.


The company reported 41.18 billion euros in sales, representing a 7.6% increase from 2022 and an 11.0% increase on a like-for-like basis in 2023.


As of April 18 2024, L'Oréal's sales reached 11.24 billion euros, a reported increase of 8.3% from the previous quarter. On a like-for-like basis, the sales grew by 9.4%.

Bettencourt Meyers’ family has a long history of wealth and power. L’Oreal was founded by Eugène Schueller, her grandfather. Françoise was born to Andre and Liliane Bettencourt in 1953. Andre Bettencourt, a decorated French war hero who resisted the Nazis, served as a government minister for 20 years in the cabinet of Pierre Mendès France and was vice chairman of L'Oreal until 1994.


Relations between Françoise and her mother were rather frayed. The scandal involving President Nicolas Sarkozy and Lilliane Bettencourt significantly affected Françoise’s public image, the controversy surrounding Sarkozy's alleged abuse of Liiliane’s mental fragility and allegations of illegal campaign funding and tax evasion led to a negative perception of the family.


Her mother too was the wealthiest woman till the time of her death in 2017 with a net worth of approximately $45 million. After quite a legal turmoil the French court ruled the family’s assets in Françoise’s guardianship and her two sons in 2012. The case led to a public scandal and family drama. 

In November 2023, Netflix released a crime documentary titled, The Billionaire, The Butler, and the Boyfriend. The documentary is about the infamous “Bettencourt Affair” — a legal case that embroiled the members of the family as well as L’Oréal and members of the French government. The Bettencourt family today has the largest stakes in the company with equity around 35%


Despite her immense wealth and power, Françoise prefers a life of subtlety in privacy. She is rarely seen at social gatherings and instead focuses on her philanthropic efforts and family life.

Bettencourt Meyers serves as the president of the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation which was founded by her parents in 1987. The foundation has over $700 million in assets and focuses on funding projects in the areas of science, education and the arts. Bettencourt Meyers has also been involved in various philanthropic initiatives including a significant donation to the restoration of “Notre-Dame de Paris” following a devastating fire in 2019. She has also authored several books, including a five-volume study of the Bible and a genealogy of the Greek gods


Bettencourt Meyers is a bookish and austere individual who prefers the company of her two pianos which she profoundly plays for hours as hobby. This hobby reflects her love for music and her dedication to personal pursuits beyond her business and philanthropic endeavours.


Despite her gain, Bettencourt Meyers’ fortune is still significantly less than that of French compatriot Bernard Arnault founder of luxury goods LVMH, who is second in the global ranking with $179 billion, but with such speed not for long. 

Bettencourt Meyers’ achievement serves as a milestone in female entrepreneurship and leadership. By breaking through the $100 billion barrier, Bettencourt has set precedent that challenges the confines of wealth and power, long dominated by men. Her success serves as an inspiration for women across the globe, to rise up from the shackles of patriarchy and male chauvinistic society.


As she shatters financial records and societal expectations alike, her journey unfolds as a riveting tale of power, perseverance and profound impact. Her ascent is not solely a triumph of wealth but also a testament to the potential for philanthropy through leadership. As she continues to lead with grace and vision, Françoise Bettencourt Meyers paves the way for future generations of women to dream bigger, invest smarter and become the media of change.


 

BY ARYAVEER SHARMA

TEAM GEOSTRATA

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3 Comments


The future is women led, women driven

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Very well analysed!!

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Satakul
Satakul
Jun 25

Well articulated!!

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