Liliane Bettencourt: biography of the richest woman in France

Liliane Bettencourt: biography of the richest woman in France
Liliane Bettencourt: biography of the richest woman in France

Madame Liliane Bettencourt is the owner of cosmetics giant L'Oréal. Its counterparts Danone, Michelin and Club Mediterranee are examples of competitive companies that are now more international than French.

lillian bettencourt

On the character of French women

Unlike the English women who lived in the evil old England of the Victorian era, the qualities inherent in the French woman - looseness, enterprise, the ability to dispose of each sous with benefit, frugality - began to appear after numerous revolutions that shook the country in the XVIII-XIX centuries. They, literate, sat in the shops and behind the counters of cafes and restaurants, kept accounting books and, on an equal basis with men, disposed of the family's capital, trying to increase it. Madame Liliane Bettencourt has successfully continued this tradition.

Childhood and youth

The chemist Eugène Schueller, the son of a baker, had a daughter, Liliane, born in Paris on October 1, 1922. He had earlier set up a small cosmetics company in the suburbs of Clichy-la-Garenne in 1909. The company's task was to produce safe hair dyes that, while dyeing hair well, would not destroy them.structure. This has been successful. Then the business expanded. Clarifiers, soap-free shampoos, cold permanents were synthesized. The entire movement of the growing holding is aimed only at continuous development. Less than six years after the birth of her daughter, Schueller's wife dies. Now the girl is very close to her father, who devotes himself completely to work and does not think about remarrying. For education, the child is sent to the Dominican order. She, a middle-class girl, is given good manners, varied and solid Catholic knowledge. All this can further help to strengthen the position of Lillian Henrietta in society. From 15 to 20 years old, the girl worked as an intern in her father's company, comprehending all the intricacies of the business from the lowest stages.


In 1940, in less than two weeks, the Nazi troops occupied France. There was only a small free territory in the south. And Schueller's factories were in the zone of occupation. The entrepreneur began to cooperate with the pro-fascist organization La Cagoule (“Cloak with a Hood”).

Handsome from Normandy, André-Marie-Joseph Bettencourt, a law student, lived in a boarding school in Paris since 1935. He was friendly with François Mitterrand. During the war, he met the Schueller family. After the liberation of France, Bettencourt joined the National Movement of Prisoners of War and Deportees.

Liliane Bettencourt family

And he even received the Legion Knight's Cross. Thanks to the testimony of François Mitterrand, as well as Eugène Schueller, the founder of L'Oréal, he avoids scandalous revelations inaiding the Nazis.

Starting a family and giving birth to an heiress

June 8, 1950 he married Lillian Schueller. Eugene Schueller gave him the hand of his only daughter as a reward for his testimony, which acquitted him of all charges of joint activity with the Nazis during the occupation. A skilled photographer took masterful photographs of Liliane Bettencourt in her youth. A photo of the blonde beauty wearing a boa is shown below.

Liliane Bettencourt and family biography

At this time Liliane Bettencourt's husband was a member of the cabinet. The de Gaulle government awarded him the highest award of France - the Order of the Legion of Honor. The husband also became vice chairman at L'Oréal. Liliane Bettencourt's family was quite respectable. On July 10, 1953, the young couple had a daughter, Francoise. Raised in the Catholic faith, Françoise Bettencourt met her future husband, Jean-Pierre Meyers, in Megeve. He was the son of a former rabbi in Neuilly-sur-Seine who was sent to Auschwitz with his wife. The cosmetic heiress married on April 6, 1984 in Fiesole, Tuscany. They have two sons, Jean-Victor (born 1986) and Nicolas (born 1988), who are raised as Jews. This is how the life of Liliane Bettencourt and the family developed. The biography of the billionaire depended on how her life's work would work.

L'Oréal management

At the age of 35, after the death of her father, Liliane Bettencourt headed the L'Oreal company. Fearing a possible nationalization in 1974, the Bettencourt family exchanged half of their shares, keepingthe dominant voice (53.85%), 4% of the Swiss company Nestle. They create a joint holding GESPARAL, in which the Bettencourts had 51% of the shares, and Nestlé - 49%. The Bettencourt-Meyers family owns 71.66% of the voting rights in L'Oréal. Backdated in 2004, the partners signed the merger between L'Oréal and GESPARAL. Both parties agree not to increase their holdings or sell them for five years. According to the July 7, 2005 edition of the newspaper Le Mond, Liliane Bettencourt is rich and famous. The fortune makes her the second richest woman in the world. According to Forbes in 2010, this is the third billionaire in the world with a personal capital of $ 20 billion. In 2012, Madame Bettencourt received 360 million euros in dividends.


Since her husband's death in 2007, Liliane Bettencourt has been involved in two legal cases that she is forced to speak about openly.

Firstly, her daughter Françoise accused her mother of incapacity. The reason was expensive gifts worth more than 1,000,000 euros, presented to a personal photographer, Monsieur François-Marie Barnier. Not only that, he offered her to adopt him.

Françoise presented the second proof of her mother's abnormality in the form of recordings of her telephone conversations. During the investigation, tax evasion and money transfers to offshore companies were revealed. In addition, illegal donations were made to Nicolas Sarkozy's election campaign.


In 2011, the press reported that Lillian Bettencourt was suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Her daughter Françoise insisted on this.

Liliane Bettencourt France

The entire fortune was transferred to the daughter, and she herself was placed under the care of her eldest grandson, Jean-Victor Meyers. He became the only person capable of smoothing out all the contradictions between the mother and her daughter.


With her husband, she created the Bettencourt-Schueller Foundation on December 22, 1987, which actively fights AIDS. Thanks to him and for promoting a he althy lifestyle, Madame Bettencourt was awarded the Order of the Legion of Honor. On December 31, 2001, she was promoted to Knight of the Legion of Honor for her assistance to the Ministry of He alth. On February 11, 2010, she bequeathed to the Fund the amount of 552 million euros. This is the largest private donation made by Lillian Bettencourt. France can now afford to build a medical research center. In May 2011, Liliane Bettencourt donated 10 million euros to the Institut de France, which is made up of five national academies.


Moreover, Mr. Schueller built a mansion in Brittany opposite the island of Brea in the UK. Villa with columns was built in the 20s. It is a large building with 25 rooms, a tennis court, a swimming pool, and an adjoining 3.9 acre park. Madame also owns a villa in Sar Formetor in Spain, as well as real estate in Saint Maurice in Normandy. The family also has a mansion in Neuilly-sur-Seine, outside of Paris.

Lillian Bettencourt in his youth photo

He owned an atoll with a villa in the Seychelles. It was purchased in 1997. In 2010 in the mediathere was information that the French authorities were not notified of this purchase. It was sold in 2012 for $60 million. Madame Bettencourt has always collected paintings by de Chirico, Léger, Picasso, Girodet, Matisse, Munch, Joan Miro, Braque, which are estimated at around 20 million euros (2001).

lilian bettencourt state

Despite the fact that the daughter brought internal family matters to public consideration, the work of the company continues to go well. In March 2013, Forbes magazine ranked Liliane Betancourt as the richest woman in the world with a net worth of $30 billion.

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