France on Wednesday awarded Jewish philanthropist and media mogul Ronald Lauder with its government’s highest honor.
Lauder—president of the World Jewish Congress, owner of Israel’s Channel 10 television station, and son of cosmetics giant Estée Lauder—received the Legion of Honor from President FranÃ§ois Hollande.
“With you, France honors a man of peace, of culture and of commitment. The cause you serve is to preserve the memory in order to build the future,” Hollande said, praising Lauder as both a “businessman who has developed with talent an enterprise that is today a world leader” at Estée Lauder as well as the owner of “the most beautiful modern art collection ever assembled by an individual.”
As of September 2012, Forbes estimated Lauder’s net worth at $3.4 billion.
Napoleon Bonaparte established the Legion of Honor in 1802 as a way for France to reward civilians and soldiers on the basis of merit, rather than the pre-French Revolution system of nobility.