/Late Scholastic CEO leaves firm to exec who is former lover, not sons

Late Scholastic CEO leaves firm to exec who is former lover, not sons

  • The late CEO of Scholastic left the company to its board chair, his former lover, per the WSJ. 
  • Richard Robinson Jr. died on June 5. He left a controlling stake in the publisher to Iole Lucchese.
  • This means his family do not control the business. His son called it “salt in an open wound.”

The late CEO of a $1.2 billion publishing house left control of the company with its chief strategy officer, with whom he had a long-term romantic relationship, rather than his two adult children or four siblings, the Wall Street Journal reported. 

His oldest son called it “salt in an open wound.”

Richard Robinson Jr., the former chairman and CEO of Scholastic Corp., which publishes the US versions of the “Harry Potter” books, died suddenly in June aged 84 while taking a walk in Martha’s Vineyard.

In Robinson’s 2018 will, viewed by The Journal, he left his 53.8% controlling stake in Scholastic to Iole Lucchese, the company’s chief strategy officer. The pair had a long-term romantic relationship that was an open secret within the company, unnamed family members and former coworkers told the paper. They weren’t in a relationship when he died, according to unnamed former colleagues cited by the Journal. 

In the will, Robinson also left all of his personal possessions to 54-year-old Lucchese, who he described as his “partner and closest friend,” rather than his two adult sons, four siblings, and ex-wife, the paper reported.

Robinson left about 3 million company shares, including 53.8% of its Class A shares, and more than 2 million common shares to Lucchese, per a securities filing

A spokesperson for Scholastic told The Journal that about $70 million of Robinson’s common shares wouldn’t ultimately be owned by Lucchese, although it is unclear who will inherit them. 

Read more: Office romances can be tricky. Here’s what to do if you find out an employee is in a secret relationship with a boss.

Lucchese, who started working for Scholastic in Canada 30 years ago, became chair of its board in July. 

Robinson’s succession plan left some family members reeling: John Benham Robinson, the publishing mogul’s oldest son, told The Journal that his father’s will has “served as salt in an open wound.” John, 34, said that he spoke to Lucchese for the first time in late July about his father’s estate, per the Journal. 

Some of Robinson’s family members are considering taking legal action, unnamed sources close to the matter told the Journal. 

Maurice Robinson, the younger son, told the Journal: “You might think from the will that he didn’t see his sons. That’s not true. For the last two years I saw him multiple times a week.”

Robinson’s ex-wife, Helen Benham, also told the Journal that he had grown closer to his family during the pandemic, spending “all of his time” away from work with her and their children. 

Robinson’s family wrote in his obituary that he had “expressed a strong desire to work less and spend more time with his family on the Vineyard.” 

Scholastic did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. 

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