Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones
Owen-Jones rose from shampoo salesman on the shop floor to command one of France’s biggest global businesses. After school at Uppingham and studying modern languages at Oxford, he attended the prestigious French business school Inséad. He joined French beauty group L’Oréal in 1969, first as a rep selling toiletries in Normandy. He turned round the company’s operations in Belgium and the US en route to being appointed chief executive in 1984. He held that position until 2006, retiring as honorary president in 2013. He is credited with building the Bettencourt family’s business into the world’s leading cosmetics company.
Since retirement he has enjoyed more time sailing, winning the prestigious Giraglia Rolex Cup at St Tropez in 2015 in his 100ft yacht Magic Carpet Cubed. He can easily afford such a hobby as his salaries and options were as high as £30m a year. His stake in L’Oréal, if it has not been sold, would be worth £360m. Wallasey-born Owen-Jones, 71, received an £80m gift in 2003 from Liliane Bettencourt – reputed to be the world’s richest woman – for his role in polishing up the family fortune ("Because you're worth it!"). After share sales we value him at £467m.