Francoise Bettencourt Meyers: The First Woman to Reach $100 Billion Fortune



by FARUK IMAMOVIC

Francoise Bettencourt Meyers: The First Woman to Reach $100 Billion Fortune
© Getty Images/Pascal Le Segretain

Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, the heiress of the L'Oréal empire, has made history by becoming the world's first woman to accumulate a fortune surpassing $100 billion. This milestone cements her status as not only the richest woman globally but also places her among the top echelons of the world's wealthiest individuals.

A Legacy of Wealth and Discretion

At 70, Bettencourt Meyers maintains a low profile, contrasting sharply with her immense wealth. As the vice-chair of the board of L'Oréal, valued at $268 billion, she wields significant influence in the global beauty industry.

Her family, holding nearly 35% of the company's stake, remains the largest shareholder, with her sons, Jean-Victor and Nicolas Meyers, also serving on the company's board. The surge in Meyers' wealth is largely attributed to L'Oreal's shares hitting record highs, marking the stock's best performance since 1998.

This growth reflects not only the robust health of the company but also the shrewd business acumen behind its management. Inheriting her wealth after the passing of her mother, Liliane Bettencourt, in 2017, Meyers had to navigate a complex family dynamic and legal challenges.

Despite the past contention, she emerged as the sole heir, adeptly managing the family's assets and steering L'Oréal through the evolving landscape of the beauty industry.

Beyond the Boardroom

Known for her reclusive lifestyle, Bettencourt Meyers spends her time engaged in personal passions, such as playing the piano for hours each day.

Her commitment to privacy and the arts sets her apart in a world where billionaire lifestyles are often under intense public scrutiny. In addition to her responsibilities at L'Oréal, Bettencourt Meyers chairs her family's holding company, Tethys.

Along with her husband, Jean-Pierre Meyers, who serves as CEO, they founded Tethys Invest SAS in 2016. This venture focuses on long-term investments in entrepreneurial projects, diversifying their interests while ensuring no competition with L'Oréal's core business.

As Francoise Bettencourt Meyers continues to lead with a blend of discretion and strategic insight, her influence extends beyond the realms of wealth, marking her as a unique figure in the world of business and finance.