World’s Richest Woman Dies at 94; Walmart Heiress Takes Her Place
The business world is mourning over the death of the world’s richest woman, French socialite, Liliane Bettncourt, who is also the heiress of one of the biggest companies, not just in France but also the entire world, L’Oreal. The current CEO, Jean-Paul Agon released the official statement last Thursday, September 21, at the age of 94.
“We all had a great admiration for Liliane Bettencourt who always looked after L’Oreal, the company and its employees, and was very attached to its success and development,” Agon said via written statement. “She has personally contributed greatly to its success for many years. Mrs. Lilian’s Bettencourt was a great lady of beauty who has left us and whom we will never forget.”
Before she died, Forbes named Bettencourt as 2017’s World’s Richest Woman. She had a net worth of $39.5 Billion, and almost all of her wealth came from owning a third of the cosmetic company, L’Oreal, which her father, Eugene Schueller, actually founded back in 1907. Even if she was worth $3.4 billion a year, she was only on the 14th spot on Forbes World’s Billionaires.
Bettencourt died at her home in the Parisian suburb. Her daughter, Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, said that her mother left peacefully. “I would like to reiterate, on behalf of our family, our entire commitment and loyalty to L’Oreal and to renew my confidence in its president, Jean-Paul Agon and his teams worldwide.”
WHO IS LILIANE BETTENCOURT?
Not a lot of people know who Liliane Bettencourt actually is, that is why we will be giving you a couple of facts when it comes to the life of the late heiress.
Bettencourt was actually the only child of Eugene Schueller, who founded L’Oreal, which is one of the largest brands when it comes to cosmetics and beauty. At such a young age of 15, she already joined her father to work as an apprentice in their company, where she mixed cosmetics, as well as labeling bottles of shampoo. She then married French politician, Andre Bettencourt, where she had one daughter named, Francoise.
HOW DID SHE BECOME THE RICHEST WOMAN IN THE WORLD?
Bettencourt was an heiress since she was the only child of a business tycoon. She inherited the L’Oreal fortune the moment her father died in 1957. However, in 1974, she exchanged almost half of her stake for 3% to Nestle. In 2012, it was revealed that she actually owns about 30% of the outstanding shares of L’Oreal. Since she only has one daughter herself, she made her daughter as well as her husband board of directors, while her grandson was appointed as Board Director.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR L’OREAL?
In 2004, L’Oreal, together with one of its biggest shareholder, Nestle, had an agreement wherein it states that neither of them would increase their stakes in the company while Bettencourt is till alive and for six months after her death. This is to prevent Nestle from taking over everything.
According to the spokeswoman of Nestle, they are not going to comment on the said matter since it is not the right time to make a comment but they are sending their condolences to Bettencourt’s family and company.
WALMART HEIRESS BECOMES THE NEW RICHEST WOMAN?
Now that the richest woman in the world has passed, people are now looking into who will take her place at the top. It is actually none other than another heiress.
Walmart heiress, Alice Walton, was considered as the “richest woman in the world”, for like a day. Yes, she managed to briefly hold the title. That is because Bettencourt’s daughter took the place of her mother as the richest woman in the world the day after she died. This is according to Bloomberg where Francoise was reported to have a net worth of $42.3 billion, whereas Walton is not far behind with $38.4 Billion. Looks like she has to settle on the second spot again, at least for now. Despite that, Walton is still the richest woman in the United States.
The world may have lost another business magnate, but the entire L’Oreal team must continue where she left off and make things better especially now that they’re alongside one of the biggest companies in the world, Nestle. This is the second biggest death of a notable person in the business industry, after Steve Jobs of Apple died in 2011.
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