Top 10 Richest People In France
France, Europe’s wealthiest nation, is the home to some of the world’s most recognizable brands: Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Chanel, and L’Oreal are just some of them. The French are mighty proud of these globally coveted brands as well as the people who created them. Here are the people behind these iconic brands who also happens to be France’s wealthiest.
L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt is not only the richest woman in France; she’s also one of the richest woman in the world. Too bad the 90-year-old suffers from dementia but her descendants can rest assured they will always be among France’s elite.
LVMH head honcho Bernard Arnault may just be the second most envied person in France, with a net worth of $29 billion. France’s second richest and the world’s 18th most affluent is the man behind coveted brands Bulgari, Louis Vuitton, De Beers and Thomas Pink. Arnault is the richest man in France.
Francois Pinault reportedly dropped out of high school because he got fed up with his classmates making fun of his humble family background. Today, the retail kingpin and founder of luxury goods company PPR (formerly Kering) of the Gucci, Puma, Alexander McQueen and Yves Saint Laurent fame, is one of France’s most powerful people.
Serge Dassault may have inherited his wealth but he has expanded it to new heights. The French senator is the CEO of aviation company Dassault Group, maker of Mirage and Rafale jets, and French daily newspaper Le Figaro.
Chanel owners Alain and Gérard Wertheimer are among France’s most privileged. The press-shunning duo’s grandfather is Chanel founder Pierre Wertheimer. Apart from the luxury goods giant, the brothers also own vineyards and horses.
Xavier Niel is a self-made billionaire and one of France’s most eligible bachelors. He is considered as France’s telecom king by providing affordable web and mobile services to users in France. Niel was jailed for a month in 2004 due to charges of raking in profits from prostitution. He was later cleared of the charges.
Jean-Claude Decaux made a fortune from advertising. The self-made billionaire founded the world’s biggest outdoor advertising company, JCDecaux, in 1964. The 75-year-old has since relinquished control of the company to his sons, Jean-Francois and Jean-Charles.
Emmanuel Besnier, CEO of global dairy giant Lactalis, is an enigma. The dairy king is notorious for his disdain for publicity. He has been called many names: “the invisible billionaire”, “the French Howard Hughes”, and “Emperor of Cheese”. One thing is for sure: his fortune is obvious. The company reportedly made $20 billion in revenues in 2012 alone.
Pierre Bellon transformed a small-time catering business into one the world’s biggest catering companies, Sodexo, which employs 413,000 people in 80 countries. The 83-year-old not only made billions from his catering venture; he also enjoyed immensely the nature of his business as evidenced by his autobiography I Have Had a Great Time.
Vincent Bollore inherited his family’s paper mill business and built it into one of the world’s biggest companies. The former investment bank trainee is chairman and CEO of investment group, Bollore. The company has interests in shipping, palm oil plantations, media, and construction, among others. Bollore owns Autolib, Paris’ electric car-sharing service.