August 6, 2021

2021 Forbes Billionaires Ranking: The 42 French at the top

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A jumbo jet gets through a storm better than a small passenger plane. This is the lesson to be learned from the 2021 cuvée from our annual list of great French fortunes. Discover the 42 French billionaires, with 3 new entries in this exclusive ranking. This “French team of billionaires” alone totals just over 510 billion dollars …

If there is one category of the French population that has passed through the health crisis without a hitch, it is undoubtedly that of French billionaires. Most of them have managed to stabilize their fortunes, some have even seen it increase significantly. Starting with the boss of LVMH, Bernard Arnault, hands down number one in our ranking. The boss of the world luxury champion group has admittedly announced a drop in sales of his products due to the pandemic, but has been able to offset these results with acquisitions hailed by the financial markets which have consolidated his position. In view of the progress made by the businessman who has also distinguished himself in recent years by his philanthropic action, we can bet that he is not about to be exceeded in our annual list. He would rather look on the side of the world podium on which continues to reign Jeff Bezos, the powerful boss of Amazon.

Françoise Bettencourt-Meyers (L’Oréal), 2nd, and Francois Pinault (Kering and Christie’s), 3rd, still largely ahead of Bernard Arnault

Its traditional pursuers, Françoise Bettencourt-Meyers (L’Oréal), 2nd, and Francois Pinault (Kering and Christie’s), 3rd, also coped with this period with talent. The sole heir to Liliane Bettencourt, who was for a long time the richest personality in France, has benefited in particular from the 62% growth in e-commerce in her group, which is strengthening its positions. As for the Pinault family, its companies achieved a turnover of 12.6 billion euros despite a 15% drop in sales. The immense fortune of the Pinaults is therefore doing very well.

Despite these impressive peaks, our ranking, which counts 42 billionaires (discover their portraits on our site) does not present any major upheavals, as if each were braced on their dearly acquired place. The telephony giants that are the boss of SFR, Patrick drahi, and that of Free, the unspeakable Xavier Niel, remain in the top 10, and women are still rare in this list, since apart from Françoise Meyers-Bettencourt, the fair sex is represented only by Marie-Helene Habert (Dassault), tied for 11th with his two brothers, Laurent and Thierry Dassault, and Anne Dufour (Ipsen), 32e.

While there is great continuity in 2021, there are still a few new entrants, the most significant of which is Stephane Bancel, which climbs directly to 23rd position. This quadra literally “surfed” on the health crisis, since Moderna Therapeutics, an American biotechnology company in which it owns 8% of the capital, won the vaccine race in which pharmacy giants such as Pfizer or Sanofi were nevertheless engaged. The other new arrivals are above 30th place. This is’Olivier Pomel (Datadog), 34e, Francois Feuillet (Trigano), 35th, and Yves-Loïc Martin (Eurofins), 36th, brother of Gilles Martin, which appears to him at the 24th position.

To note that Stephane Bancel, Olivier Pomel and Gilles Martin, as well as Jean-Michel Besnier (Lactalis) were trained at Centrale Paris, which is becoming one of the schools most cited in the CVs of our billionaires, with HEC.

We have therefore gone, with these four newcomers, from 39 billionaires in 2019 to 42 in 2020. An increase which shows that, decidedly, great fortunes have overcome the Covid-19 crisis. The only outgoing one is quite a symbol on its own: Olivier Dassault who recently lost his life in a helicopter crash. This cuvée is dedicated to him.

Exclusive ¦ The Forbes 2021 ranking of 42 French billionaires

First and last name Fortune, in Billions of $ Origin of fortune Age
Bernard Arnault & his family 150 LVMH 72
Françoise Bettencourt Meyers & her family 73, 6 L’Oreal 67
François Pinault & his family 42, 3 Dry 84
Alain Wertheimer 34 ,5 Chanel 72
Gérard Wertheimer 34, 5 Chanel 70
Emmanuel Besnier 19,1 Agribusiness 50
Patrick drahi 11, 8 Telecommunications 57
Rodolphe Saadé & his family 10, 9 Maritime transport 51
Xavier Niel 8,8 Internet, Telecommunications 53
Alain Mérieux & his family 8,2 Pharmaceutical industry 83
Laurent Dassault 7,3 Aeronautics, others 67
Thierry dassault 7,3 Aeronautics, others 64
Marie-Helene Habert 7,3 Aeronautics, others 56
Vincent Bolloré & his family 7 ,0 Investments 69
Jean-Michel Besnier 6 ,7 Agribusiness 53
Marie Besnier Beauvalot 6 ,7 Agribusiness 40
Nicolas puech 5 ,7 Hermes 78
Michel Leclercq & his family 5, 7 Sports 81
Carrie Perrodo & her family 5 ,4 Oil 70
Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière 4 ,9 Finance 80
Pierre Bellon & his family 4 ,8 Services 91
Martin & Olivier Bouygues 4 ,6 Construction, Media, Telecommunications
Stephane Bancel 4, 3 Biotechnologies 48
Gilles Martin 3 ,9 Laboratories 57
Mohed Altrad 3 ,4 BTP 73
Charles Edelstenne 3 ,3 Aviation 83
Philippe Foriel-Destezet 3 ,0 Adecco 85
Louis Le Duff 3 ,0 Bakeries 74
Philippe Ginestet & his family 2 ,1 Retail 67
Bernard Fraisse 2 ,1 Pharmaceutical industry 64
Alain Taravella 2 ,0 Immovable 73
Anne Beaufour 2 ,0 Pharmaceutical industry 57
Henri Beaufour 2 ,0 Pharmaceutical industry 55
Olivier Pomel 1 ,9 Computer science 44
Francois Feuillet 1 ,9 Camping-car 72
Yves-Loic Martin 1 ,7 laboratory services 55
Norbert Dentressangle 1 ,6 transport, logistics 66
Jean-Pierre Cayard 1 ,6 Spirits 78
Christian Latouche 1 ,5 Accounting services 80
Francis Holder 1,4 Bakery 80
Edouard Carmignac 1 ,2 Asset management 73
Clément Fayat & his family 1, 2 BTP, Construction 89

<<< Also read: Forbes 2021 Billionaires Ranking: the incredible year of all records for Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Bernard Arnault and Company >>>