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Meet world’s first woman to have $100 billion fortune; ‘plays piano for hours’

Dec 29, 2023 08:30 PM IST

Bettencourt Meyers holds one-third stake in L'Oréal, oversees family's ownership

Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, heiress to the L'Oréal beauty empire, has made history as the world's first woman to surpass a net worth of $100 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Françoise Bettencourt Meyers(X/MeyersFrancoise)

This milestone was achieved through the surge in L'Oréal S.A. stock, reaching a record high on Thursday. As of that day, her net worth stood at $100.1 billion, shows Bloomberg’s data.

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Established in 1909 by Bettencourt Meyers' chemist grandfather, Eugene Schueller to sale a hair dye, the company has been led by non-family executives for many decades.

Who is Françoise Bettencourt Meyers?

1. Bettencourt Meyers holds a one-third stake in L'Oréal, the world's largest cosmetics manufacturer.

2. As the chairperson of the family's holding company, she oversees the family's ownership, a role previously held by her mother Liliane until her passing in 2017.

3. Bettencourt Meyers is known to keep her life private, shunning the glitzy social life sought by many the world’s wealthy.

4. She has written two books — a five-volume study of the Bible and a genealogy of the Greek gods — and is known for playing piano for hours every day.

5. L'Oréal, with brands like Lancome and Garnier, generated a revenue of 38.3 billion euros $41.9 billion in 2022. Her sons, Jean-Victor Meyers and Nicolas Meyers, are also directors.

How did the billionaires fare in 2023?

In the aftermath of the global recovery from Covid, the combined wealth of the top 500 richest individuals experienced a remarkable surge of $1.5 trillion, fully recuperating from the $1.4 trillion decline observed in the preceding year. Once again, their financial success closely mirrored the performance of technology stocks, which achieved unprecedented highs despite concerns about a potential recession, ongoing inflation, elevated interest rates, and geopolitical unrest.

Also read: Gautam Adani fortune tanked 3 lakh crore in 2023. How Mukesh Ambani fared?

Who secured the top position in wealth for 2023?

Elon Musk, regaining the distinction of being the world's wealthiest individual from L'Oréal competitor and French luxury magnate Bernard Arnault, outshone all others. The CEO of Tesla accumulated an additional $95.4 billion by the close of Thursday, propelled by the triumphs of Tesla and SpaceX, rebounding from a staggering $138 billion loss in 2022.

Musk's current net worth exceeds Arnault's by more than $50 billion, influenced by a global slowdown in the demand for luxury goods that affected the shares of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE.

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