Fall-off in affluence

Queen of cosmetics dethrones Fort Worth billionaire as world’s richest woman

Queen of cosmetics dethrones FW billionaire as world’s richest woman

Alice Walton of Wal-Mart
Alice Walton has been dethroned as the richest woman in the world. Photo courtesy of Wal-Mart

Fort Worth billionaire Alice Walton likely isn’t shedding a single tear about this, but she’s been knocked off her perch as the world’s richest woman.

Grabbing the title from Walton is Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, chairwoman of her family’s holding company, which controls the L’Oréal cosmetics empire. New data from Forbes estimates her fortune at $49.3 billion, compared with $44.4 billion for Walton. Overall, Bettencourt Meyers ranks as the 15th richest person in the world, and Walton ranks 17th.

“While it’s Bettencourt Meyers’ first official year as richest woman, her name is no stranger to the spot. For the past decade, the world’s richest woman has either been a Bettencourt or Walton,” Forbes says.

With a net worth at the time of $46 billion, Walton held the No. 1 spot in Forbes’ 2018 ranking of the world’s richest women. She rocketed to the top of last year’s list thanks in large part to a 43 percent jump in the value of her shares in Walmart, the retail giant co-founded by her legendary father, Sam Walton.

Regardless of whether she’s the richest or second richest woman in the world, Walton “lives a very humble life and is also a firm believer in philanthropy,” according to the Wealthy Gorilla websiteBusiness Insider noted last year that Walton spends much of her fortune on collecting art and breeding horses.

“Despite attempts to spend her fortune quietly, Alice became the target of pushback a few years ago from minimum-wage Walmart employees who view her lifestyle as insensitive and ignorant to the plights of many workers,” Business Insider reported.

In 2018, Walton snagged the title of world’s richest woman from L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, who died in September 2017 at age 94. Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, the only child of Bettencourt, sat in second place last year. In 2016 and 2017, Walton claimed the No. 2 spot, one notch behind Bettencourt.

Walton can still take pride in the fact that she’s a member of the world’s richest family. In mid-February, the combined wealth of Walton and her two brothers totaled $141.5 billion. Altogether, seven Walton family members share a fortune pegged at roughly $170 billion.

“The Walton family makes more money in one minute than Walmart workers do in an entire year,” U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who’s seeking the Democratic nomination for president, tweeted February 14.

Shortly after Sanders posted that tweet, a Washington Post fact checker declared the senator’s claim — that the Walton family rakes in $25,149 a minute — was true.

Walton is one of 21 Texans who made the top 600 of Forbes’ 2019 list of the world’s richest people. The others are, in order:

  • Michael Dell of Austin, No. 25, net worth of $34.3 billion.
  • Andy Beal of Dallas, No. 158, net worth of $9.1 billion.
  • Jerry Jones of Dallas, No. 224, net worth of $6.8 billion.
  • Richard Kinder of Houston, No. 239, net worth of $6.6 billion.
  • Dannine Avara of Houston, No. 290, net worth of $5.9 billion.
  • Scott Duncan of Houston, No. 290, net worth of $5.9 billion.
  • Milane Frantz of Houston, No. 290, net worth of $5.9 billion.
  • Randa Williams of Houston, No. 290, net worth of $5.9 billion.
  • Robert Rowling of Dallas, No. 334, net worth of $5.3 billion.
  • Robert Smith of Austin, No. 355, net worth of $5 billion.
  • Robert Bass of Fort Worth, No. 365, net worth of $4.9 billion.
  • Tilman Fertitta of Houston, No. 394, net worth of $4.7 billion.
  • Ray Lee Hunt of Dallas, No. 394, net worth of $4.7 billion.
  • Trevor Rees-Jones of Dallas, No. 452, net worth of $4.3 billion.
  • Mark Cuban of Dallas, No. 478, net worth of $4.1 billion.
  • H. Ross Perot Sr. of Dallas, No. 478, net worth of $4.1 billion.
  • Kelcy Warren of Dallas, No. 478, net worth of $4.1 billion.
  • Bert “Tito” Beveridge of Austin, No. 504, net worth of $4 billion.
  • Dan Friedkin of Houston, No. 504, net worth of $4 billion.
  • Janice McNair of Houston, No. 546, net worth of $3.8 billion.