Calls for Bettencourt to go due to ‘brain disease’

A group of small shareholders in L'Oreal called on Wednesday for heiress Liliane Bettencourt to resign from the cosmetic giant's board of directors amid reports that the 89-year-old has a brain disease.

A group of small shareholders in L’Oreal called on Wednesday for heiress Liliane Bettencourt to resign from the cosmetic giant’s board of directors amid reports that the 89-year-old has a brain disease.

The APPAC association said the resignation was necessary as shareholders had not been informed of her mental state when they renewed her mandate for four years at the company’s annual general meeting on April 22.

The call comes amid a bitter feud between Bettencourt and her daughter, Francoise Bettencourt-Meyers, and after doctors reportedly said the heiress was unable to run her affairs and should be placed under legal guardianship.

“APPAC is surprised by the legal action expedited by (Bettencourt-Meyers) with a view to having her placed under enhanced legal guardianship for medical reasons that were known well before the meeting without shareholders being informed,” said a statement.

The association pointed out that the Bettencourts are L’Oreal’s main shareholders ahead of Swiss conglomerate Nestle and that the renewal of her mandate was approved by 97 percent of those who voted.

APPAC called “on Mrs Liliane Bettencourt to resign her mandate on L’Oreal’s board of directors and for the company to name an independent board member to represents either employees or individual shareholders.

“This is necessary to avoid any judicial procedure to have the vote renewing Mrs Bettecourt’s mandate annulled,” the statement said.

A source told AFP on Tuesday that court-appointed doctors said Bettencourt has a brain disease, is unable to run her affairs and must be placed under enhanced legal guardianship.

Bettencourt-Meyers has also taken legal action alleging that her mother is prey to hangers-on who want to defraud her.

Bettencourt, France’s richest woman, “must be given a measure of protection in carrying out her civil life, regarding her patrimony and personal affairs, in the form an enhanced legal guardianship,” the medical report said.

The type of “enhanced legal guardianship” recommended by the doctors would allow the appointed guardian to oversee Bettencourt’s spending but falls short of granting the guardian the status of a full legal trustee.

Bettencourt’s fortune is estimated at around 15 billion euros ($21.7 billion).


L’Oreal drops trans model over controversial comments

French cosmetics giant L'Oreal on Friday confirmed it had dropped a British transgender model over comments the company deemed "at odds with our values," after she was hired as part of a diversity campaign.

L'Oreal drops trans model over controversial comments
File photo: AFP

“L'Oreal champions diversity,” the beauty brand said on Twitter. “Comments by Munroe Bergdorf are at odds with our values and so we have decided to end our partnership with her”.

L'Oreal had tapped Bergdorf — a 29-year-old model, DJ and trans activist whose father is Jamaican — as one of the five newest faces of its #allworthit campaign to introduce the five new shades of its True Match face makeup.

The foundation make-up boasts 28 unique shades ranging from very light to dark brown in a bid to match the myriad different skin tones and textures of people worldwide.

According to British Vogue, Bergdorf was the first transgender woman to be featured in a L'Oreal Paris UK campaign.

But controversy erupted when Bergdorf took to Facebook in a now-deleted post to react to events in the US city of Charlottesville, where a woman was killed on August 12th after an avowed white supremacist rammed his car into a group of anti-racism counter-protesters.

“Honestly I don't have energy to talk about the racial violence of white people any more. Yes ALL white people,” Bergdorf wrote, according to copies posted in British media.

“Once white people begin to admit that their race is the most violent and oppressive force of nature on Earth… then we can talk,” the model reportedly wrote.

L'Oreal told British media it “remains committed to celebrating diversity and breaking down barriers in beauty”.

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