Béatrice Cointreau: A Legacy in Wines, Spirits, and Leadership

Women in Business


With a successful 4-decade experience in diversified businesses, Béatrice Cointreau is a revered international entrepreneur, active impact investor, and advocate for gender-balanced leadership and diversity. An experienced board member of both for-profit and non-profit companies, as well as certified for publicly traded companies, Béatrice has paved avenues where there were none.

Béatrice has served as former President and CEO of Champagne Gosset and Cognac Frapin, and former Board member and Director of the Renaud-Cointreau Group where she successfully developed Wines and Spirits companies with double digits yearly progressions. She has been honored by the French government, receiving the title of Chevalier de L’Ordre du Merite Agricole, for her input in the agricultural industry, as well as The Legion of Honor, for her civilian activities.

Leading by Example

Breaking boundaries for more than 40 years, Béatrice has spent nearly 28 years as President and/or CEO of multinational or global companies in France and California. An advocate for women’s equality in the workplace, she shares, “Being the first woman to enter many men-led organizations in the wine and spirits industry, my goal was not only to demonstrate to others that it was possible but also to keep the door open for many to follow!”

Right from a young age, Béatrice noticed the eminent gender bias in society. She would observe women complaining in the kitchen about their teens, pregnancies, or others, while the men would sip their ports and cognacs, and nibble cheese, telling fascinating stories about their foreign trips and experiences. All those men were presidents of something – from yacht clubs to rotaries to companies.

When asked what she wanted to do when she grew up, Béatrice always said that she too wanted to be President and travel the world. “Of course, everyone laughed. Well, I made sure, by getting more diplomas, certifications, and more, my background was solid. I would say bulletproof. I worked non-stop including when expecting my children and earned respect,” states she.

The great-granddaughter of the founder of Cointreau liqueur and granddaughter of the founder of Rémy Martin Cognac, Béatrice has developed numerous wine and spirit brands of her own, including a line of perfume. Cornell University MBA and INSEAD IBD (international board of Director) graduate, Beatrice is also a certified wine and spirit expert from Bordeaux France and UC Davis in the US.

Béatrice is also an award-winning author and has written multiple books. Her work, Sense & Quintessence, Organic wine: the marketer’s guide, C’est si Bon, Paris…by night, Proud to be Californian, and Malibu is Admirable, is available on both sides of the Atlantic.

"Women can do everything; they just have to trust themselves! Pioneering as one of the first women in the wine and spirit industry, I am compassionate on the matter and personified the diversity at the time"

Devoted to Equality

byBC Ventures, a private equity firm launched by Béatrice in Europe and the US in 2007 and 2012 respectively, offers international expertise to help guide businesses looking to make space in their industry and market. Working as per the SIFT business practices: Safe, Inclusive, Fair, and Transparent, this establishment is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs turn their ideas and visions into successful and sustainable companies. Beatrice precises, “Did you know that start-ups funded or co-funded by women are 2.5times more profitable than others: the return on investment is of 78 cents for on invested dollar versus 31 cents for 100% male driven companies?

Dedicated to boldly pushing industries toward a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive era, byBC ventures primarily invests in companies with female figureheads. “No company, for me, can be successful without a 360 degrees point of view and not being able to assess 51% of the population’s expectations and values,” states Béatrice. Over the years, she has been responsible for promoting scores of women to higher levels of management. As Chair and CEO, Béatrice has left every company she ran, with at least 40% of women at C suite level. “To tell the truth, they deserved it so much that it was easy,” she mentions.

Not only is Béatrice the first woman member of the Ordre des Coteaux -Champagne organization and the French Wine Academy, but she is also a part of the International Board of Directors for Women of the Vine and Spirits. She is a member of the boards of various international banks and companies, as well as a part of the French Foreign Advisors since 2015.  

Giving back, Béatrice is an active part of multiple charities and foundations, including Women of the Vine and Spirits and American University in Paris, and supports leading women’s organizations as a mentor for younger generations. She is a member of LAVA – Los Angeles Venture Association, The French American Chamber of Commerce, and Femmes & Gouvernance, to name a few. As a board member of these organizations and foundations, Béatrice works at creating opportunities for women through education and scholarships to help them achieve their dreams.

For her selfless dedication toward equality and sustainability, Béatrice has been recognized as the “Best Inspiring Woman Leader 2022” by Women Magazine. 

Béatrice Cointreau: A Legacy in Wines, Spirits, and Leadership
Béatrice Cointreau

Overcoming Obstacles

As a woman professional, Beatrice remembers having to deal with her fair share of gender-based prejudices. The preconceived idea about women’s abilities is number one, she mentions.

“Women can do everything; they just have to trust themselves! Pioneering as one of the first women in the wine and spirit industry, I am compassionate on the matter and personified the diversity at the time. Imagine my three leading managers handing their resignation letters when I stepped in as a CEO and board member in Champagne, explaining they couldn’t work for a woman! They stayed and finally cried when I left fifteen years later.”

While working in Japan, Béatrice would learn all her speeches in Japanese to demonstrate her will to go above and beyond the call of duty. This in itself lead to a seventy-five percent hike in sales. “I probably had to work harder, but it was my passion, and I loved every minute of it,” she states.

Another challenge she knows that career women face is having to juggle multiple things along with their professions. While her various roles as a board member, CEO, team leader, parent, and spouse, may sometimes get a little overwhelming, Béatrice’s ability to prioritize, compartmentalize and dedicate enough time to each is what makes her a true role model.

Finally, cancer! “It has been a wake-up call to review my priorities,” shares Béatrice. Having been given a life expectancy of 2 years, more than 10 years ago, Béatrice has led a life of not taking anything for granted. “It helped me realize that my team was my chosen family, my work was a passion, and I have been so lucky to be doing everything I love and succeeding with my teams.”

Leadership Lessons

Always scouting to better herself, Béatrice believes in being a finer version of herself every day. She finds her inspiration in other pioneering women in their fields, learning new leadership techniques and innovations along the way. Her biggest inspiration however will always be her mother, a Ph.D. in law, valedictorian from the top business school, and mother of 7.

Having spent 4 decades on a pioneering professional journey of her own, Béatrice shares the following advice with other women professionals around the world:

  • Always ask the following question: Do I have the information I need to decide? Even for simple analysis, I tend to look beyond the given source of information and push forward. It is easy to get caught in some biased or framed research and taking a step back is always crucial.

  • Do NOT give in to pressure, Do NOT pressure others.

  • Accept sunk costs and never “throw good money after bad” and be conscious of loss aversion bias.

  • Be conscious of inertia tendency, therefore, challenge the status quo.

  • Reframe opportunities in terms of long, not short terms.

  • Be self-confident, trust your guts and be fearless: Do not loose time being frightened, think about all you will do without fear!