Richest Woman In The World 2013
This article presents details of the richest woman in the world whose age is 91 year old widow, Liliane Bettencourt, according to rankings released by Forbes Magazine in March 2013. This makes her the wealthiest woman in France, just ahead of billionaire tycoon Bernard Arnault and one of the top 10 richest people.
|Liliane Bettencourt Profile Summary|
|Real Name||Liliane Henriette Charlotte Schueller|
|Net Worth||$33.2 Billion (As of December 2013)|
|Major Source of Income||L’Oreal (A Cosmetic and Beauty Products Company)|
|Date of Birth||21st October, 1922.|
|Place of Birth||Paris, France|
|Husband’s Name||Andre Bettencourt (1950 - 2007)|
|Daughter's Name||Francoise Bettencourt Meyers (Jewish)|
She is the principal shareholder of L’Oreal, which is a family business related to beauty products and one of the biggest cosmetics companies in the world. Her father, Eugene Schueller, founded the company in 1909 and as the only child, she inherited most of the fortune and her family owns approximately 30% of the shares at L’Oreal. Since 2011, her assets have been under the guardianship of her daughter after a 3-year long family legal battle which states that she is mentally unstable and made her subjected to public scrutiny.
Background of Richest Woman In The World
Her mother, Madeleine Berthe, died in 1927 when she was only 5 years old. Although her father remarried, he never had any other children and developed a strong bond over the years with his daughter and even introduced her into the family business. She was only 15 years of age when she began mixing cosmetics and labeling shampoo bottles.
At 28 years old in 1950, Liliane married Andre Bettencourt. Mr. Bettencourt was a politician and cabinet minister in the French regime of the 1960s and 1970s. He was also a member of the French fascist group, La Cagoule. Besides working as a politician, he served as deputy chairperson at L’Oreal. The following year, the couple built a modern mansion in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, which became their home. Three years into the marriage, Liliane Bettencourt had her only child and daughter, Francoise Bettencourt Meyers.
She inherited L’Oreal in year 1957 from her father, who died the same year. In 1963, the company decided to sell shares to members of the public. Despite going public, Bettencourt retained a majority stake of L’Oreal. In 1974, she traded almost half of her stock to obtain 3% of Nestle S.A. This move was in fear that the company would be nationalized following the French elections that year. It is estimated that she has a 30.5% stake at L’Oreal as of December 2012 and about 12.56% of this wealth is reserved for her daughter, Francoise. Lillian Bettencourt terminated her tenure as Board of Director on February 13th, 2012 and Jean Victor, her grandson, becomes head of the company. (Source)
Property Dealings And Purchased House
A great contributing factor to her estimated $30 billion fortunes were the selling of the D’Arros Island in 2012. She sold her private island to a Seychelles-registered conservation associated with the Swiss Save our Sea Foundation. This land transaction gave her a whopping $42 million in profits and in the same year, she purchased a residential property in Hottingen, Zurich, estimated to be worth 62 million francs.
Rankings And Titles By Forbes
Liliane Bettencourt’s title as the richest woman alive has been a long time coming. Forbes had already placed her as the 39th most powerful woman in the world back in 2005. In 2013, she was ranked as the wealthiest woman on earth. She takes ninth place among the world’s top 10 billionaires, which is a comeback on the list since 1999.
Personal Life of Wealthiest Woman
Since 2007, she has been in the media not only for being one of the wealthiest women in France, but also for alleged political affiliations. Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and other politicians allegedly received huge sums of money from her to fund their political campaigns. This scandal indicated that she was among the wealthiest tax avoiders and funding conservative French politicians.
Family Lawsuits Against Banier
Besides this bad publicity, the Bettencourt family lawsuits have also been the subject of public interest. Lillian’s daughter, Francoise Meyers, filed a criminal complaint in 2007 to open investigations concerning a reported $1billion in cash and gifts that her mother allegedly gave to a friend, Francois-Marie Banier, a renowned photographer, artist, and writer, who met Bettencourt in 1987 during a photo shoot for the French magazine, Egoiste. Liliane and Bainer had been close friends for years and is believed to have received gifts in the form of cash, life insurance policies, expensive artwork, among other valuables.
Her petition accused Banier of psychologically and physically exploiting her mother for personal gain, claims which Lilliane Bettencourt refuted. This marked the beginning of a series of lawsuits amongst the Bettencourt family. She sought to have medical examinations done for her mother to assess her mental state, but to no avail. Postponed hearings saw this legal battle last until 2010. In what seemed like an end to the legal tussle, Liliane Bettencourt separated with Banier and removed him from her will that year. She also reconciled with her daughter briefly, but the row reignited when Liliane claimed that her daughter needed psychological help. However, Meyers filed a lawsuit on June 8th, 2011, claiming her mother was now mentally incapable of managing the business. A French Judge ruled in favor of Meyers on 17th October, 2011, putting her along with two grandsons in charge of the Bettencourt fortune.
Philanthropic Side of Liliane Bettencourt
She is a philanthropist who loves to give back to society and together with her husband and daughter, they formed the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation, which funds education, social, humanitarian, and social research projects.
The majority of her wealth comes from L’Oreal, with only a small portion invested in Nestle S.A stocks. This is somewhat different from most billionaires whose wealth often comes from multiple sources. This goes to show that L’Oreal is a big brand and a successful company which made her wealthiest female billionaire.