Richard Robinson, Scholastic’s CEO passes away at 84

Richard Robinson, head of Scholastic Inc. and responsible for the reading habits of millions of young readers, has died at aged 84. He helmed the publishing company for five long decades and was one of the longest-serving CEOs in the US.

The publishing company announced his passing on Saturday but did not give the cause of death.

“We are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Dick Robinson,” Scholastic’s board of directors said in a statement. “Dick was a true visionary in the world of children’s books and an unrelenting advocate for children’s literacy and education with a remarkable passion his entire life.”

Scholastic CEO Richard Robinson

Scholastic CEO Richard Robinson, right, congratulates author/illustrator Norman Bridwell, left, creator of Clifford the Big Red Dog for his iconic children’s book character, New York, Thursday, May 5, 2011.

The Harry Potter series were published under him, which broke industry sales records, and also developed franchises such as “Captain Underpants,” “The Hunger Games” and “Goosebumps.”

Robinson became CEO in 1975. His nearest rival with such long innings as CEO is Warren Buffett, who will be completing 52 years soon as CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

Robinson was a graduate of Harvard College, and his father Maurice R. Robinson founded Scholastic as a classroom magazine in 1920. He joined Scholastic in the mid-1960s. He was named president of the company in 1974, CEO in 1975 and board chair in 1982.

Under him, the company reached new heights with some big book titles and a savvy marketing strategy that saw Scholastic become synonymous with school book publications and activities.  It is the world’s largest publisher of children’s books and is the distributor of 1 out of every 3 children’s book in the U.S. The publicly-traded company’s estimated net worth is around $1.2 billion.

Scholastic runs popular programs and clubs at schools. Participants in Scholastic’s annual Art & Writing Awards for students have included Robert Redford, Stephen King and Lena Dunham.

The publishing giant’s publishing of the Harry Potter series and some other books put it on a collision course with the censors. They termed books like “Potter,” “Captain Underpants” and Alex Gino’s “George” as inappropriate for younger readers. Scholastic books were often listed under the “challenged books” list that is compiled by the American Library Association.

The company kept up with the times and was a believer in inclusivity and diversity. In 2016, Scholastic pulled “A Birthday Cake for George Washington,” a picture story about one of Washington’s slaves, after widespread allegations that the book presented a benign portrait of enslavement. This spring, “The Adventures of Ook and Gluk” was spiked because of “harmful racial stereotypes.”

“We strongly believe our books and magazines need to address tough topics that are relevant, even if we get backlash or boycotted,” Robinson told The Associated Press in 2020. Robinson said that Scholastic aimed to educate readers in an even-handed way.

“We are dealing with issues like global warming, racial inequality in a way that doesn’t polarize the issue but gives points of views on both sides and is a balanced neutral position but not in a sense of being bland,” he said. “Here are the arguments on the other. Here is what people are saying. Here are questions you can ask to formulate your own view.”

Scholastic’s lead independent director James Barge will work with Chief Strategy Officer Iole Lucchese, Secretary Andrew S. Hedden and Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Cleary to run the show till an interim CEO is appointed.

Anna Domanska
Anna Domanska is an Industry Leaders Magazine author possessing wide-range of knowledge for Business News. She is an avid reader and writer of Business and CEO Magazines and a rigorous follower of Business Leaders.

Recent Posts

Visa takes over Swedish fintech Tink in €1.8bn deal

Visa takes over Swedish fintech Tink in €1.8bn deal

: Visa is committed to perform better in the field of open banking sector by combining its networks and Tink’s modern technologies.
3 hours ago
BP Invests $7 million in Electric Vehicle Charging Technologies

BP Invests $7 million in Electric Vehicle Charging Technologies

Investment in IoTecha is linked with BP’s intention to produce over 70,000 public EV charging points globally by 2030
3 hours ago
Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet set to cover the globe soon

Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet set to cover the globe soon

Starlink, the satellite internet unit of Elon Musk’s SpaceX, will most likely be able to provide global coverage by September, according to the company’s president Gwynne S
1 day ago
At the next Krispy Kreme IPO, the donut maker aims to raise nearly $4 billion

At the next Krispy Kreme IPO, the donut maker aims to raise nearly $4 billion

Krispy Kreme, the popular donut chain, aims raise roughly $4 billion as it makes one of the biggest IPO debuts at the NYSE.
1 day ago
Panasonic hopes Blue Yonder acquisition will improve its software woes

Panasonic hopes Blue Yonder acquisition will improve its software woes

Most Japanese major companies, which at one time were leaders in consumer electronics, are struggling to find their feet in a world that has moved to digital software. Electronics
2 days ago
Ikea and Rockefeller Foundations to raise $10 billion for renewable energy projects in poor countries

Ikea and Rockefeller Foundations to raise $10 billion for renewable energy projects in poor countries

The Ikea and Rockefeller foundations are jointly launching a $10 billion fund to promote small-scale renewable power projects in developing nations. Both
3 days ago