The longtime head of Scholastic Corp., M. Richard Robinson Jr., died suddenly in June on a walk in Martha’s Vineyard. He left behind a surprising succession plan.
The 84-year-old owner of Scholastic Corp which published several iconic children’s books including “Harry Potter” and “Magic Schoolbus,” reportedly cut his immediate family out of his will and left the $1.2 billion publishing empire to his longtime side chick.
“Scholastic’s CEO didn’t give control of the $1.2 billion publisher to either of his two sons, or his siblings, or his ex-wife. Instead, control went to Iole Lucchese, Scholastic’s chief strategy officer” https://t.co/EXwCcf2NRQ via @WSJ #publishing #Scholastic
— Luca Albani (@lukealb) August 1, 2021
He left the company and all of his personal possessions to his longtime lover Iole Lucchese, 54, who has worked at Scholastic for over 30 years.
Instead of giving control of the publisher to his two sons, his siblings, or his ex-wife, control went to Iole Lucchese, Scholastic’s chief strategy officer. Lucchese also inherited all of his personal possessions.
In his 2018 will, Robinson described Ms. Lucchese as “my partner and closest friend.” Lucchese has been with the company for 30-years. Ms. Lucchese and Mr. Robinson had been “longtime romantic partners, according to interviews with family members and former employees.
The surprise heir has “set in motion a family succession drama at the century-old-company.” The company, which is one of the world’s largest publishers of children’s books like the Harry Potter novels and Magic School Bus series, now has its future being called into question due to Lucchese’s “sudden emergence as Scholastic’s heir.”
Scholastic Magazines Inc. was founded by Robinson’s father, Maurice Robinson. The pair worked together.
Before he died Robinson named Lucchese as a co-executor of his estate and she has sole discretion over how to distribute Robinson’s personal possessions to his sons.
Robinson’s youngest son Reece seemed to be the most annoyed with the situation. “You might think from the will that he didn’t see his sons,” said Reece “That’s not true. For the last two years, I saw him multiple times a week.”