Who are Richard Robinson's sons? Late Scholastic CEO leaves $1.2B fortune to lover, NOT family

Ben and Reece Robinson, Richard Robinson's sons, speak out about the Scholastic CEO's will after his death


                            Who are Richard Robinson's sons? Late Scholastic CEO leaves $1.2B fortune to lover, NOT family
Richard Robinson and his younger son Reece Robinson (Wikimedia Commons/ Instagram/@reece.robinson)

M Richard Robinson Jr, the longtime CEO of Scholastic Corp, died unexpectedly during a stroll in Martha's Vineyard in June. But what was bewildering was the succession plan that he left, news outlets reported on Monday, August 1.

The proprietor of a $1.2B publishing company that produces titles such as 'Clifford the Big Red Dog' and 'Magic Schoolbus' has given the company to a former flame who works there, Iole Lucchese, who is the company's strategy officer. She also inherited all his personal possessions.

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In his 2018 will, Robinson characterized Lucchese, a 30-year corporate veteran, as “my partner and dearest friend”. The will was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. According to interviews with family members and former employees, Lucchese and Robinson had been lifelong romantic companions. The Scholastic CEO is survived by two sons — Ben and Reece, three sisters and a brother. But he did not leave the company to them. Neither did he leave it to his ex-wife Helen V Benham, with whom he had rekindled a friendship during the pandemic. Here's all you need to know about his sons. 

Iole Lucchese (Scholastic.com)

Who are Richard Robinson's sons?

Lucchese's unexpected emergence as Scholastic's heir has sparked a 'Knives Out'-like family succession drama at the century-old company. It is one of the world's largest publishers of children's books, with titles ranging from the 'Harry Potter' novels to 'The Hunger Games' series. Now, questions are being raised about the company's future as a standalone concern.

According to people familiar with the issue, several family members are dissatisfied and considering their legal options, with concerns ranging from preserving Scholastic's independence to rawness about an outsider taking ownership of Robinson's personal belongings. One option is to work out a deal with Lucchese to transfer some voting shares to family members or to ensure that they get a greater share of the estate.

Reece Robinson is a filmmaker

Robinson has two sons from his marriage to Helen Benham — John Benham "Ben" Robinson and Maurice "Reece" Richard Adams Robinson. Reece, Richard Robinson's youngest son, described his father's choice to grant Lucchese possession of his personal effects as "unexpected and shocking". “What I want most is an amicable outcome,” the 25-year-old said in an interview, according to WSJ.

Reece is a filmmaker, according to the website. His LinkedIn bio describes him as being born and raised in New York City. He "spent several months during Spring 2020 working as a field producer and camera operator on The First Wave, a forthcoming National Geographic feature documentary about the coronavirus pandemic." 



 

Reece, who holds a bachelor's degree from Skidmore College in New York, discovered his passion for telling tales that affect positive social change after spending the better part of his childhood making films for pleasure. He directed, filmed and produced a documentary on border conflict and significant human rights violations coming from racism-provoked police brutality during a 2017 trip to Nepal, where he also showcased the film. He is now a full-time cinematographer and editor who "travels the country regularly for Crux Academy, and makes documentaries for Grubhub".

His Instagram bio states: "I make character-driven documentaries, eat plants, and climb rocks." His colorful, masterfully captured photos there speak of his various adventures in different parts of the world, surfing, trekking and rock-climbing, sometimes on his own and at times with friends. 

Ben Robinson has a sawmill at Martha’s Vineyard

Ben Robinson, 34, is the Scholastic CEO's eldest son. "What I want most is an amicable outcome," Ben told Wall Street Journal. According to the news outlet, he lives off the land and runs a sawmill and workshop on Martha's Vineyard that makes lumber, flooring and furniture from trees.

Ben described his father’s estate plans by saying that they “served as salt in an open wound," according to an email received by the WSJ. He claimed he had never met Lucchese or heard her voice before the family called her on Wednesday to discuss his father's will. "We expect to have a collaborative approach with the estate," he said, declining to elaborate. 

Richard Robinson died at the age of 84. He kept his estate planning and personal life confidential. He never groomed a successor, much to the chagrin of certain colleagues. Even those closest to him don't understand why he handed up the reigns to Lucchese. His wife, Helen Benham, said that the Scholastic CEO seemed to be reconnecting with his family and children. "I was shocked and we were not expecting this," she said, refusing to comment on Lucchese. 

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