World's richest woman Liliane Bettencourt dies at 94
L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, who was the world's richest woman, died "peacefully" on September 21. She was 94. With an estimated wealth of $40 billion in 2017, she was named the world's 14th wealthiest person by Forbes this year. Liliane retired from the cosmetic giant's board and public life in 2012. She was later diagnosed with dementia and reported to have become deaf.
Liliane's life wasn't without controversies. In 2015, a French court charged eight people guilty of exploiting her, one of them photographer Francois-Marie Banier. In 2007, Liliane's daughter Francoise Bettencourt-Meyers pressed charges against Banier for swindling Liliane, who reportedly gave him $1.4 billion and made him her sole heir. Banier was awarded three years in prison and ordered to pay Liliane damages worth $170 million.
L'Oreal, now the world's largest cosmetics brand, was founded by Liliane's father Eugène Schueller in 1909 as a hair dye company. Her grandson Jean-Victor Meyers, 30, succeeded her as L'Oreal's vice chairman in 2012. He was also named in-charge of her personal affairs.
After Liliane, Alice Walton, with a worth of $33.8bn, is the world's second richest female as per Forbes 2017 list. She is Walmart founder Sam Walton's only daughter. The Forbes list also includes Maria Franca Fissolo ($25.2bn), who belongs to the family that created Nutella and Ferrero Rocher. Steve Jobs' widow Laurene Powell Jobs ($20bn) also features among the top 10.