Three appointments made by the Scholastic board two weeks ago following the death of Dick Robinson in June seemed to ensure that control of the publishing company would remain with the Robinson family. But that expectation was called into question over the weekend, when a story in the Wall Street Journal revealed that in his will Scholastic head Robinson left his controlling stake in the company to Iole Lucchese.
A 30-year Scholastic veteran, Lucchese was appointed chair of the publisher in mid-July simultaneously with the appointments of Peter Warwick, a Scholastic board member, as president and CEO, and the naming of Robert Dumont as board designee of the Robinson family. According to the WSJ article, Lucchese had been romantically involved with Robinson for years, and in his 2018 will he left Lucchese as the sole beneficiary of his Class A shares in Scholastic as well as control of his personal possessions.
The company’s Class A shares hold most of the voting power over Scholastic, and until now had been largely controlled by the Robinson family. WSJ said it is not clear how the question of succession and control of the publisher will be resolved. According to the article, some family members are reviewing their legal options, while others are looking at the possibility of reaching an agreement with Lucchese to transfer some voting shares to family members or to ensure they get a greater share of the estate.
At the time of his death, Robinson was Scholastic chairman, CEO, and president. In the release announcing successors to those positions, Lucchese was identified as Scholastic executive v-p and chief strategy officer and president of Scholastic Entertainment. She began with the publisher at Scholastic Canada and, the company said, worked with Robinson “to advance the company’s strategic and creative initiatives across all operating units, including new product and program offerings, business transformation, and digital expansion, as well as overseeing the company’s digital content and marketing initiatives and its expanding media activities.”