When her phone buzzed on June 6, Iole Lucchese was still absorbing a shock that had come the day before. Her longtime boss, M. Richard Robinson Jr., the chairman and chief executive of the Scholastic publishing company, had died suddenly.
Now, Scholastic’s general counsel, Andrew Hedden, was on the phone, delivering a second surprise.
He had called to inform her that Mr. Robinson, 84 had left Ms. Lucchese 53.8 percent of Scholastic’s Class A stock. The company where she had worked for 30 years, rising from a junior employee in the Canadian market to one of its top executives, was now a company she controlled.
“It was overwhelming,” Ms. Lucchese said in an interview at Scholastic’s headquarters in SoHo, water towers punctuating the cityscape behind her…