Richard Robinson, chairman and c.e.o. of Scholastic, has passed away unexpectedly at the age of 84.
Robinson, better known to colleagues as Dick, died in the US on 5th June. He had been in excellent health and had been overseeing Scholastic’s long-term strategic direction and day-to-day operations for the better part of five decades, Scholastic said.
In a statement, the board of directors said: “We are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Dick Robinson. 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. The company’s directors and employees, as well as the many educators, parents and students whose lives he touched, mourn his loss.”
Robinson joined Scholastic in the mid-1960s, rising to be named president in 1974, c.e.o. in 1975 and chairman in 1982. The company published huge series under his watch including the Harry Potter books in the US, Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants and Dog Man and Suzanne Collins' the Hunger Games.
J K Rowling paid tribute to Robinson, saying she heard the news of his death with "shock and profound sadness". She said: "Dick was a wise, kind and humane man, who leaves behind him an extraordinary legacy in the world of children’s literature. He was an early champion of Harry Potter and a stalwart support to me through the 24 years we knew each other. My thoughts are with everyone at Scholastic, who I know will be reeling from this unexpected news, and above all with Dick’s family, to whom I send my deepest sympathy. I’m just one of thousands of children’s authors who were proud to be published by Dick Robinson, and I’ll miss him very much indeed."
Nosy Crow m.d. Kate Wilson, who worked with Robinson when she ran Scholastic in the UK, paid tribute to him in a blog today. She wrote: "I worked with him for five formative, challenging, exciting years. He made me laugh. He made me cry. He made me furious. He made me work hard. He made me be honest with him. He made me believe in him and in his vision. I feel privileged to have worked with him and to have shared time with him since. He is a loss to me, certainly, but he is an immeasurable loss to the world of children’s books."
Under a pre-authorised framework, lead independent director James Barge, chief strategy officer Iole Lucchese, general counsel and secretary Andrew Hedden and chief finance officer Kenneth Cleary will run day-to-day operations from the US.
Scholastic said: “The company’s class A shareholders and the company’s board of directors will be meeting independently to determine the best course for the company’s direction, including the appointment of an interim operating head.”