François Coty (born Joseph Marie François Spoturno; 3 May 1874, Ajaccio, $2 – 25 July 1934, Louveciennes) was a French perfume manufacturer, newspaper publisher, and founder of the fascist league Solidarité Française. The company he founded in 1904 is now Coty, Inc., based in New York City.
Joseph Marie François Spoturno was born on 3 May 1874 in Ajaccio, Corsica. He was a descendant of Isabelle Bonaparte, an aunt of Napoleon Bonaparte.:9 His parents were Jean-Baptiste Spoturno and Marie-Adolphine-Françoise Coti, both descendants of Genoese settlers who founded Ajaccio in the 15th century. His parents died when he was a child and the young François was raised by his great-grandmother, Marie Josephe Spoturno, and after her death, by his grandmother, Anna Maria Belone Spoturno, who lived in Marseille.:39
After spending some years in military service, François met a fellow Corsican named Emmanuel Arène. A politician, writer, and future senator, Arène became François's mentor, offering him a job in Paris as his secretary. In Paris, François married Yvonne Alexandrine Le Baron and took the more French-looking name Coty, a variation on his mother's maiden name. He also met Raymond Goery, a pharmacist who made and sold perfume at his Paris shop. Coty began to learn about perfumery from Goery and created his first fragrance, Cologne Coty.:49