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# Liliane Bettencourt

Random fact: Husband, Andre, served as a cabinet minister for 20 years.


Bettencourt owned 33 percent of L'Oreal, the world's largest cosmetics maker. The Paris-based company reported revenue of 25.8 billion euros ($28.6 billion) in 2016. Bettencourt inherited her father's stake in 1957. Her fortune had been managed by her daughter and two grandsons since 2012. She died in September 2017.

As of Jan. 16, 2018:
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Industry Consumer
Biggest asset N/A
Citizenship France
Age 94
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Birthdate: 10/21/1922
Family: Widowed, 1 child

The only child of L'Oreal founder Eugene Schueller, Bettencourt inherited her father's stake in the family's cosmetics empire after his death in 1957. She joined the business as an apprentice at age 15. In 1950 she married Andre Bettencourt, who became a decorated war hero for resisting the Nazis. He was also a government minister for 20 years and served as vice chairman of L'Oreal until 1994.

With her only daughter, Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, Liliane founded the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation in 1987, which donates to science research, humanitarian causes and the arts and is France's largest private family foundation. Relations between Bettencourt and Meyers became the subject of international scandal in December 2007, a month after Andre Bettencourt's death. Meyers, who is a L'Oreal board member and chairwoman of holding company Tethys and the family foundation, filed a lawsuit accusing Bettencourt's entourage, including photographer Francois-Marie Banier, of taking advantage of her mother's frail state. Court evidence later revealed that Bettencourt had given more than $1 billion in cash and gifts to Banier, who was arrested and charged with fraud and abuse of trust. Banier was fined and sentenced to three years in prison by a court in Bordeaux in May 2015.

An October 2011 court ruling placed the family's assets under the guardianship of Meyers and her two sons. The decision was confirmed by a court of appeals in January 2012.

In March 2013 former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was drawn into what has become known as the Bettencourt Affair when he was named as a formal suspect by judges probing claims he took advantage of Bettencourt's mental frailty to access her fortune. The investigation stemmed from allegations by Bettencourt's former staff that Sarkozy accepted cash gifts from Bettencourt to fund his 2007 presidential campaign, at a time when the heiress wasn't mentally fit to make decisions. The case against Sarkozy, who has always denied any wrongdoing, was dropped in October 2013.

Bettencourt died in September 2017. She was 94.

  • 1922 Born in Paris to Eugene Schueller, founder of L'Oreal.
  • 1937 Joins L'Oreal as a trainee at age 15.
  • 1950 Marries L'Oreal's future vice chairman, Andre Bettencourt.
  • 1957 Eugene Schueller dies, leaving his stake in L'Oreal to Liliane.
  • 1974 Swiss food company Nestle buys an indirect stake in L'Oreal.
  • 2010 Court tapes show Bettencourt made friend Banier heir to her estate.
  • 2013 French prosecutors send 10 people to trial for abusing Bettencourt.
  • 2017 Bettencourt dies.