World's richest woman is dead

Pauline Gross
September 22, 2017

Today (Thursday), Liliane Bettencourt, the heiress of L'Oreal and the world's richest woman, died at the age of 94.

The heiress began working for the family business at 15 labelling bottles of shampoo.

Bettencourt ranked as the 14th richest person in the world, according to Forbes magazine, which estimated her net worth in March at US$39.5 billion (33 billion euros).

She was born Liliane Schueller to L'Oreal founder Eugene Schueller and Louise Madeleine Berthe in Paris in 1922.

"We all had a great admiration for Liliane Bettencourt", stated chairman and CEO of L'Oreal Jean-Paul Agon.

"My mother left peacefully", her daughter Francoise Bettencourt-Meyers said.

In recent years, Bettencourt had been under the guardianship of family members, stemming from a famous court case known as the "Bettencourt affair".

L'Oreal legend has it that Ms Bettencourt was not much loved by her mother, and certainly she was less than enamoured with her own offspring towards the end of her life.

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Her time at the helm of L'Oreal wasn't without controversy, with the company being accused of "destroying the planet" by the Ethecon Foundation who awarded the company the Black Planet Award in 2007.

In addition to the L'Oreal Paris and Maybelline New York mass-market brands, the group also markets luxury cosmetics under brands such as Lancome, Ralph Lauren and Giorgio Armani.

L'Oreal is one of the world's biggest cosmetics group with almost 90,000 employees in 140 countries and sales of 25.84 billion euros in 2016.

The former president was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing.

Bettencourt leaving a fashion show in 2001 with daughter Francoise.

Former president Nicolas Sarkozy was included in a subsequent probe into whether he exploited Ms Bettencourt's mental frailty to fund his victorious 2007 election campaign.

The charges against Sarkozy were dropped in October 2013 due to lack of evidence.

Other reports by GizPress

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