André Bettencourt

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André Bettencourt in 1976

André Bettencourt (born April 21, 1919 in Saint-Maurice-d'Ételan , Département Seine-Maritime , † November 19, 2007 in Neuilly-sur-Seine ) was a French journalist, businessman and conservative politician ( CNIP , RI ). Between 1968 and 1973 he was briefly Minister for Post, Industry, Culture and Foreign Affairs and from 1977 to 1995 a member of the French Senate.


In his youth, Bettencourt was a member of the right-wing extremist group La Cagoule , which was financially supported by the founder of the French cosmetics group L'Oréal , Eugène Schueller . He also wrote anti-Semitic articles from 1940 to 1942 for the Nazi-funded La Terre Française newspaper .

André Bettencourt and Nicolae Ceaușescu (1968)

Bettencourt married Schueller's daughter Liliane in 1950 . The two have a daughter, Françoise Bettencourt-Meyers , who is now a member of L'Oréal's board of directors.

In the post-war period he became a member of the liberal-conservative party Center national des indépendants et paysans (CNIP), when it split in 1962, he moved to the Républicains indépendants under the leadership of Valéry Giscard d'Estaing . He was a member of the General Council of the Seine-Maritime Department from 1949 to 1979 . From 1951 to 1977 Bettencourt was (intermittently) a member of the National Assembly . From 1965 to 1989 he was mayor of his birthplace, the small Norman parish of Saint-Maurice-d'Ételan .

During this time he was State Secretary from 1966 to 1968 (first for transport, then in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs). From May to July 1968 he was briefly Minister of Post and Telecommunications in the Pompidou IV cabinet . Immediately afterwards he was Minister of Industry in the government of Prime Minister Maurice Couve de Murville from 1968 to 1969 . From 1969 to 1972 he was Assistant Minister for Planning and Regional Planning and from 1970 to 1971 he was interim head of the Ministry of Culture . He was then an assistant minister in the Foreign Ministry (under Minister Maurice Schumann ) and finally from March to April 1973 he was Foreign Minister himself in the Messmer I cabinet .

From 1974 to 1981 Bettencourt was President of the Regional Council of Haute-Normandie . From 1977 to 1995 he was a member of the Senate , where he represented the Seine-Maritime department. In 1986, Bettencourt was elected to the Académie des Beaux-Arts as the successor to Michel Faré .

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