Top 10 Wealthiest Women in the World in 2020
Wealth comes with power. And that is not only for men but for both genders. A lot of the time, the focus is the on the wealthiest men. Some women are powerful but little is known about them. When it comes to the richest women, the general assumption is that they must have inherited it. Well, whether they are self-made billionaires or were lucky to encounter wealth isn’t important for now. The fact remains that they have managed to maintain that property and even grew it.
The strategies they used are what make them get recognition. They decided to pursue a different path rather than just sit down and waste all the fortunes of their family. These are the women who decided to climb the corporate ladder and stay on top of the league. They have proven beyond doubt that women can do what men can do or even better.
Forbes researched and compiled the list. Here’s the list of the top ten wealthiest women of 2020.
1. Liliane Bettencourt
She was born in 1922, Paris, France. Aged 93 now, Liliane Bettencourt is not only the richest woman in the world but also the wealthiest person France. Liliane lost her mom at the age of five and was brought up by her mother-in-law. She sits at the helm of the largest cosmetics and beauty company in the world, L’Oreal. She inherited the company from her father upon his death in 1957. Through her hard work, the company grew into an empire. She also features on the Forbes list of the wealthiest ranking number 11. Her net worth is $36.1 billion. They are the biggest shareholders in L’Oreal, a company co-founded by his father. At 15, she had already started working at L’Oreal by mixing shampoos and other cosmetics. Bettencourt later married Andre Bettencourt in the 1950s. Andre held a high ranking position in the French government that time.
Bettencourt lost $4 billion after her shares in L’Oreal fell last year. Other than the market loss she suffered, she was also a victim of fraud. Her former managers and a celebrity photographer, Francois-Marie Banier got aligned in a French court for conning her millions of Euros. Not only was Banier sentenced to 3-years incarceration but was also to pay $172 million as damages. Together with her family founded Bettencourt Schueller Foundation in 1985. The foundation aimed to offer medical and humanitarian support. Bettencourt has faced criticism and media scrutiny for alienating her daughter. She has also been funding conservative French politicians like the former president Nicolas Sarkozy.
2. Alice Walton
Her last name says it all. She ranks second in the list of the richest women in the world. Alice Walton is one of the beneficiaries of the vast Wal-Mart store fortunes. Her father Sam Walton founded Wal-Mart in 1962. According to Forbes, Walton is worth $32.8 billion. She suffered a loss of $7.1 billion last year from the drop in the value of Wal-Mart shares.
Alice is not active in running the business like her brothers. She shares the returns from the chain stores. Instead, she is a philanthropist and has given billions to charity. Alice made a political donation worth 25,000 dollars to Hilary Clinton’s presidential campaigns. She has also supported educational reforms through her wealth. Alice is fond of collecting art, having bought her first piece at the tender age of 10. During her career, she worked as a broker for an insurance firm. Besides, she worked at First Commerce Corporation as an equity analyst.
3. Jacqueline Mars
Mars is the third richest woman on earth. Mars is worth $23.4 billion, a drop from $26.6 billion last year. Jacqueline Mars is currently 72 years. Mars is the biggest candy maker in the world. Upon the death of their father in 1999, Mars together with her brothers inherited his business, Mars. The three are directors at Mars. However, none of the siblings plays an active role in the candy business, Mars.
Their grandfather founded Mars in 1911 in Tachoma, Washington. He would do it in his kitchen. Forest Sr., would join his father in 1929. Later the company invented another brand Milky Way and Snickers. The company sold M&Ms mainly to the solders in World War II. They have overseen the business continue to blossom generating revenue worth $33 billion annually. Mars make pet foods and candy. Pet food brands popular with the company are Pedigree and Whiskas. The company also makes Uncle Ben’s rice. Jacqueline is also a trustee of United States, Equestrain Team. Besides, she is also a member of the board of directors at National Sporting Library & Fine Art Museum.
4. Maria Franca Fissolo
Maria is another heiress of a sweets business. For the lovers of Nutella chocolate, thank Maria Franca Fissolo’s family every time you have a bite of it. She is currently 98 years. Italy is her residence and bags the title of the fourth richest woman in the world. The widow of Michele Ferero’s, is worth $22.1 billion.
Her husband built Ferero Group and died on 14 Feb 2015, usually Valentine’s Day. Fissolo and her son, Giovanni own to run the private company together. Her son, Giovanni took over as the co-CEO of the company in 1987. Giovanni assisted his brother Pietro in running the business for over two decades.
Unfortunately, he died in South Africa while training to ride a bicycle in 2011. The company is behind famous Nutella chocolates, Kinda Chocolates and Tic-Tac mints. Maria’s father started the business during the 2nd world war in Alba, Northern Italy. He left the business under the management of his brother upon his death in 1949. His son Michelle, husband to Maria, would assume the leadership of the company later.
5. Susanne Klatten
She hails from Germany and is the world’s fifth wealthiest woman in the world. She is also the richest woman in Germany. Klatten is the daughter to Johanna Quandt. She has control over fortunes worth $18.5 billion. Together with her brother, Stephan Quandt, they own half of the stock at BMW. Klatten is said to have been secretly receiving extra shares of BMW over the years. Only after the death of her mother in Aug 2015 were the transfers discovered. Apparently, her mother, Johanna Quandt, ranked at number nine in the list of the richest women in the world before her demise.
Klatten is an academician having earned a degree in business. She is also has a business track record and trained as an economist. DW, a German publication points out that she has worked under alternate names during her career. She did not want her family’s wealth to influence her professional affairs. Klatten also takes all the credit for her contribution in ensuring the German Pharmaceutical and Chemical Company hits annuals sales of $2 billion.
6. Laurene Powell Jobs
Jobs is the widow of the bereaved Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs was the co-founder and CEO of Apple Inc. She is not so much into the limelight. She controls a fortune of $16.7 billion. Her net worth has improved a lot thanks to the Walt Disney stock in which she is the principal shareholder. As a shareholder at Disney, she manages the stock as Lurene Powel Jobs Trust. She owns 7.8% of the company. Laurene Powel is also the founder and chairperson of Emerson Collective. The organization helps to advocates for policies in education. Emerson Collective also deals with environmental conversation, immigration, and justice. She is also a co-founder of a non-profit organization, College Track.
She lives in Palo Altro, California together with her three children. The objective is to help disadvantaged college graduates brace themselves for life in and after college. Also, she is a voice of the children of illegal immigrants. Laurene advocated for them to get American citizenship. Apart from that, she is an educated woman. She has degrees from Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania. Powell Jobs also serves as a backer and board member at Ozy Media. Through here, they bought Amplify, a loss-making digital education business in 2015.
7. Abigail Johnson
The richest person in every state in the US in 2020, Johnson is the president and CEO of Fidelity Investments. Fidelity is a US investment firm. She is currently 54 years. Abigail graduated with a degree in art history in history. Later, she got her MBA at Harvard Business School. Abigail has climbed the corporate ladder to rank number seven in the Forbes list. Johnson served as an analyst and portfolio in the company back in 1988.
In 1997, she was granted an executive role in Fidelity Management and Research. And since then, she has risen through the ranks to assume the position as a CEO in 2014. Not to mention she has an estimated net worth of $13.1 billion. She preceded her father, Edward “Ned” Johnson III, as the CEO at Fidelity Investment. Edward Johnston II, her grandfather, founded the business in 1946. After Vanguard, is Fidelity as the second-largest mutual fund company. She owns 24% stake at Fidelity. Johnson currently sits on the board of Securities Industries and Financial Market Association (SIFMA). She is also a member of the Committee on Capital Markets Regulations. Abigail became the first woman to serve on the board of Financial Services Forum.
8. Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken
The name Heineken is a giveaway. Born in 1954, Heineken is a businesswoman residing in London, England. She graduated from the University of Leiden with a degree in law. Heineken controls 25% stake in the 3rd largest beer company in the world, Heineken. She inherited the Dutch brewer Heineken from her father, Freddy Heineken, in 2002. Her net worth is $12.3 billion. Heineken is the richest person in Netherlands. The beer brewing company has over 170 brands that find their way into over 65 countries in the world. She has confessed the pressure she has gone through given that she had no prior experience in the business. The CEO of the company is Jean Francois van Boxmeer.
Heineken has a 50% stake in California craft brewery. Also owns 70% shares Lagunitas and Jamaican Brewer Desnoes and Gaddes. Her husband Michel, is a director and investment banker at Heineken. Her son, Alexander joined the Heineken board in 2013. He gives Heineken all the priority.
9. Iris Fontbona & Family
Fontbona is the wealthiest person in Chile. She has an estimated $10.1 billion pegged under her name. Iris Fontbouna found her way into the club of the richest women billionaires in the world. She and her three sons inherited the mining business of his husband, Androniko Luksic. He died in 2005 from cancer. One of her sons, Guillermo succumbed to lung cancer in 2013.
Fontobona run Antofagasta Plc, a company listed on London Stock Exchange. It owns copper mines in Chile. Androniko built and left behind a fortune in mining and beverage. Through her, the business has grown to enable her amass all that wealth. The family has the largest stake at Quinenco. Quinenco is a publicly traded conglomerate in Chile. Besides, the family owns two hotels in Croatia, Adriac Luxury Resorts & Laguna Porec. Iris Fontbona also extended her philanthropy to children with disability. She donated $4.3 million to the annual Chilean Telethon.
10. Massimiliana Landini Aleoti
What a tongue twister? She was born in 1943 in Italy. Aged 73, Aleoti closes the list of the top 10 wealthiest women in the world. She has a fortune of $10.1 billion under her name. Together with her three children, they run a pharmaceutical company, Menarini. They inherited the company from her late husband in 2015, Alberto Aleotti. Her father started working for the company in 1964. Alberto would later buy the company in 1991 from the owners. His daughter Lucia assumed the leadership of the company, as chair in 2011. That is following the deterioration of his father’s health. Her brother took the role as the vice chairman of Menarini. Alberto passed away in 2014.
Menarini is one of the leading drug companies in Italy. The company has faced accusations of tax evasion twice in 2010 and 2011. But the and the case still pends the hearing. The company boasts of 14 manufacturing drug plants around the world. The company has over 16,000 employees. In 2015, the company generated revenue of $3.6 billion.
Appearing on the list of the wealthiest people is no joke. Maintaining the rank is also not a mean feat. There are political and economic forces that influence how a business empire fairs. So, the names appearing here are subject to change. Some of the people here, due to various conditions may be struck off the list entirely next year. Keep an eye on the next list of wealthiest billionaires in the world.