By Sola Ojewusi
In a historic financial milestone, Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, the 70-year-old heiress to the L’Oréal beauty empire, has become the first woman in the world to amass a fortune exceeding $100 billion, as reported by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The remarkable ascent in Bettencourt Meyers’ wealth is attributed to the soaring success of L’Oréal S.A. stock, which reached an all-time high on Thursday. At this pinnacle, her net worth stood at $100.1 billion, marking her as the twelfth richest person globally.
Bettencourt Meyers, known for her reclusive lifestyle, holds a significant 35% stake in L’Oréal alongside her family, solidifying their position as the largest shareholders in the renowned beauty conglomerate established by her grandfather in 1909.
Her inheritance, coupled with assets such as mansions, was received following the passing of her mother, Liliane Bettencourt, in 2017. The inheritance was not without familial complexities, leading to a well-publicized family feud.
Beyond her financial pursuits, Bettencourt Meyers devotes her days to reading and playing the piano within the confines of her private abode, as reported by Vanity Fair in 2017. Notably, she is also an author, with two published works—a comprehensive five-volume study of the Bible and a genealogy of Greek gods.
Presently, the world’s second-richest woman is American heiress Alice Walton, inheritor of the Walmart retail empire, boasting a fortune valued at $70 billion.
Despite reaching the $100 billion milestone and securing her position as the world’s richest woman, Bettencourt Meyers trails behind French retail magnate Bernard Arnault. Arnault, founder of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, is the world’s second-richest individual, trailing only Elon Musk, with a formidable net worth of $179 billion.
L’Oréal shares concluded Thursday trading at 451.30 euros, exhibiting a 0.6% increase and contributing to an impressive 35% year-to-date surge. The beauty conglomerate continues to flourish under Bettencourt Meyers’ influential ownership, cementing her status as a trailblazer in both wealth and business.