World’s Richest Woman, Liliane Bettencourt, Dies at 94

Liliane Bettencourt

The world’s richest woman, Liliane Bettencourt, died on Thursday, her daughter has confirmed.

Bettencourt amassed one of France’s biggest fortunes while overseeing L’Oreal’s rise from a family makeup company to a globe-spanning colossus. Forbes estimates her net worth at $44 billion.

Francoise Bettencourt-Meyers said her mother has left peacefully. She assured that L’Oreal SA, the world’s biggest cosmetics company, remained in steady hands with CEO Jean-Paul Agon.

“In this painful moment for us, I would like to reiterate, on behalf of our family, our entire commitment and loyalty to L’Oréal and to renew my confidence in its President Jean-Paul Agon and his teams worldwide.”

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Bettencourt was born in Paris, the only child of Louise Madeleine Berthe (née Doncieux) and Eugène Schueller, the founder of L’Oréal, one of the world’s largest cosmetics and beauty companies. Her mother died when Liliane was five years old, and she formed a close bond with her father, who later married Liliane’s British governess.

At the age of 15 she joined her father’s company as an apprentice, mixing cosmetics and labelling bottles of shampoo.-