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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 out of the blue in June on a stroll in Martha’s Winery. He left behind a shocking 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 through the pandemic. As a substitute, management went to Iole Lucchese, Scholastic’s chief technique officer. She additionally inherited all his private possessions.

Within the 2018 will, a duplicate 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, in response to interviews with relations and former staff.

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 Faculty Bus” collection—and raised questions on its future as an impartial concern.

Some relations are sad and are reviewing their authorized choices, folks near the scenario stated, with issues working the gamut from wanting to take care of Scholastic’s independence to rawness about an outsider having management of Mr. Robinson’s private possessions. One chance is to succeed in an settlement with Ms. Lucchese to switch some voting shares to relations or to make sure they get a larger share of the property, one individual stated.

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