The richest woman in the world, Lilian Bettencourt, died at the age of 94
The richest woman in the world and the heiress of L’Oreal, Lillian Bettancourt, died on September 21 at the age of 94. Her daughter Francoise Bettencourt Myers said in an official statement that the mother "left quietly and calmly" in her Paris home.
Lilian Bettencourt was the main shareholder of cosmetics giant L’Oreal and ranked 14th in the list of the richest people in the world, according to Forbes magazine. In March 2017, her fortune was estimated at 29.1 billion euros. Since 2012, Bettancourt has ceased to appear in public, but her name has constantly appeared in the news headlines in connection with court proceedings with the family, which demanded that she be declared incapable due to senile dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
Lilian Bettencourt was born in Paris in 1922 to the family of Eugene Schüller, the founder of the cosmetics company L’Oreal, and Louise Madeleine Bert, who died when she was five years old. At the age of 15, Lilian got a job at her father's company, sticking labels on shampoo.
In 1950 she married André Bettankour, a French politician and future minister under the government of Charles de Gaulle. The couple lived together for 57 years, their only daughter Francoise Bettencourt was born. For years, the couple could not get rid of the charges of supporting the Nazis. Lilian was a member of the Kagulyar pro-fascist organization, which was also financed by her father, and her husband wrote several anti-Semitic articles. However, by the end of the war, Andre Bettancourt joined the French Resistance and later regretted writing articles.
Lilian inherited the company after her father’s death in 1957 and participated in L’Oreal for more than 50 years. Francois Dahl was appointed CEO, who breathed new life into the company and created the brand that we now know.
In 1987, together with her daughter and husband, Lilian founded the Bettankur Schüller Foundation, which aims to help develop humanitarian, medical and cultural projects.
Throughout her career at L’Oreal, her position was constantly criticized, and in 2007, Bettancourt was presented with the Black Planet Award, an anti-award from the German Ethecon Foundation, which is given to those who harm the planet.
Lilian Bettencourt regularly became the richest man in France and for many years was the richest woman in the world. Her life has always been imbued with the smell of money and politics mixed with scandal.
The heiress was closely associated with at least three French presidents, her name almost never left the gossip pages. Bettancourt was famous for most of her life by her name, but not by her actions, although she worked for 15 years in the company of her father, starting as an intern.
After the death of her husband Lillian, Andre Bettankura, in 2007, Francoise Bettankur Myers, her only daughter, went to court, accusing photographer Francois-Marie Bagnier of taking advantage of his mother’s condition, which in the course of their friendship since 1987 had made him gifts worth 1.3 billion euros. These gifts included, among other things, a life insurance policy of € 253 million in 2003 and another policy of € 262 million in 2006, 11 works of art worth € 20 million, including paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Mondrian, Delone and Leger, photo surrealist Man Ray and cash. Banier denies all charges.
The new scandal got in 2008, when her daughter gave the police the recordings of her mother’s conversations with the manager. Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy also came under suspicion that he was using Mental Health Bettancourt and received funding for the 2007 election campaign.
In October 2011, the court ruled that Lilian Bettencourt was suffering from dementia (senile dementia), and gave her daughter control over her mother’s health and income (about 17 billion euros and 33 percent of L’Oreal shares).
From left to right in the front row at the 1979 Chanel show are: Claude Pompidou, Bernadette Chirac - the wife at the time of Mayor Jacques Chirac, Lilian Bettancourt and Eva Barr, wife of the French Prime Minister in 1976-1981.