Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, Louis Dreyfus Group Chairperson

Our next feature is a first-timer in the Forbes list, Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, Chairperson of the Louis Dreyfus Group. Louis-Dreyfus was actually born as Margarita Bogdanova and hails from Leningrad, Russia but became the bride of businessman Robert Louis-Dreyfus in 1992 – so the last name.

Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, The "Tsarina"

Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, The “Tsarina”

However, the death of Robert in 2009 brought Margarita into the management picture of a group that makes over $50 billion in annual turnover. The Louis Dreyfus Group is in fact one of four commodities giants that controls the flow of food commodities around the world.

And this is one reason why Margarita had to struggle under the microscope.

At first, Margarita was appointed as interim manager. And reportedly, it was at this stage when she and Jacques Veyrat went head on for the company’s steering wheel.

Hmm… considering that she was just the widow of the man-in-charge – it was what truly defined Margarita Louis-Dreyfus. Forbes’ 70th most powerful woman in the world. The rest is history.

See, as a widow of Robert Louis-Dreyfus, she had to undergo emotional and leadership transformations. Not only did she lose her husband but she had to prove worthy of taking over the commodities colossus – while still mourning at that.

And regardless of being awarded as the “Capitalist of the Year” by Le Nouvel Economist in December 2011.. of being one of the most powerful women in Forbes.. these are just the result of what she has become. Indeed, attesting to the earlier monicker of the French press as the “Tsarina.”

Now, about Margarita’s plan to spend $7 billion on acquisitions in the next five years?

Well, though growth is necessary to sustain a business, service is what defines it. Companies should not simply seek to gobble up competition but to make sure consumers are still provided with healthy and affordable alternatives – everywhere.

What’s your take?