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Who is Francoise Bettencourt, the richest woman in the world? How much is she worth?

Bettencourt has built her inherited fortune across dozens of beauty brands and has looked to leave her legacy behind in the future.

Francoise Bettencourt

Francoise Bettencourt is the richest woman in the world. She is the heiress to the L’Oréal beauty empire and her fortune is said to amount to around 70 billion dollars. At 68 years old, she leads a discreet life, away from the spotlight.

After the death of her mother, Liliane Bettencourt, in September 2017, the main shareholder of L’Oréal, Francoise inherited around 39.5 billion euros, an amount that has since grown by 50% in the last five years. In fact, her mother was previously considered the richest woman in the world.

Bettencourt investing her fortune

Francoise Bettencourt invests her money in scientific, artistic and cultural projects, including the reconstruction of the Notre Damme cathedral, in which she invested around $220 million. She is discreet, with people saying that her life in Paris is relatively simple, enjoying the French parks and not using private jets for her trips.

His passions are literature and art, and those close to her say that she feels like she is in a ‘golden prison’, not knowing what to do with so much money. She has never given an interview and has always preferred to stay in the background.

The Bettencourt Schueller Foundation

Her philanthropic activities are carried out through the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation, of which she is president, where she supports scientific projects, as well as cultural and artistic ones.

Every year the Bettencourt Awards for Young Researchers are handed out to 14 new students of science or medicine to do their postgraduate studies. There is also the Bettencourt prize “Coups d’élan pour la recherche française” which each year rewards public biomedical research laboratories for improving their infrastructure and working conditions for the science researchers. She has also supported research projects in neuroscience and autism, and has invested in craft companies.

She studied Judeo-Christian international relations and has spent a good part of her time trying to understand the religion. She is married to a Jewish man and has converted to Judaism herself. In fact, she published a five-volume book called “A Look at the Bible” in which she lectures on the importance of relations between Christianity and Judaism, with all profits going to Doctors Without Borders. She also wrote a book on mythology called “The Greek Gods”.

It should be noted that her grandfather was accused of collaborating with the Nazi regime.

Legacy to the Bettencourt children

Francoise has two sons, Jean-Victor and Nicolás, who for several years now have assumed a large part of the responsibilities in the company. In 2011, by decision of a judge, Jean-Victor, Liliane’s eldest grandson who is now 36 years old, became the grandmother’s guardian, who at 88 already showed signs of suffering from Alzheimer’s. This was a pivotal moment.

Jean-Victor joined L’Oréal’s board of directors in 2012, taking over from his grandmother. He created his own menswear line called Exemplaire although it seems that the next heir also prefers to stay away from the cameras and fame.