Succession drama grips Scholastic: CEO’s sudden death, an office romance and a surprise will

The longtime head of Scholastic Corp.
M. Richard Robinson Jr., died all of a sudden in June on a stroll in Martha’s Winery. He left behind a stunning succession plan.

He didn’t give management of the $1.2 billion writer to both of his two sons, or his siblings, or his ex-wife, with whom he had rekindled a friendship in the course of the pandemic. As an alternative, management went to Iole Lucchese, Scholastic’s chief technique officer. She additionally inherited all his private possessions.

Within the 2018 will, a replica of which was reviewed by The Wall Avenue Journal, Mr. Robinson described Ms. Lucchese, a 30-year firm veteran, as “my accomplice and closest pal.” Ms. Lucchese and Mr. Robinson had been longtime romantic companions, based on interviews with members of the family and former workers.

Ms. Lucchese’s sudden emergence as Scholastic’s inheritor has set in movement a household succession drama on the century-old firm — it is likely one of the world’s largest publishers of kids’s books, from the “Harry Potter” novels to the “Magic College Bus” collection — and raised questions on its future as an unbiased concern.

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