Family shock: Billionaire wants to give fortune to his former gardener

Written by Jeppe W

Dec.21 - 2023 2:01 PM CET

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Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com

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Nicolas Puech, an 80-year-old descendant of the Hermès family, has reportedly initiated steps to adopt his middle-aged former gardener, intending to leave him a significant portion of his estimated €12 billion ($13 billion) fortune.

According to CNN, Puech, a fifth-generation heir of the founder of the renowned French luxury goods company Hermès, is considering a radical shift in his succession plans.

Previously, Puech intended to bequeath his fortune to the Isocrates Foundation, a charity he founded, which focuses on supporting public interest journalism and civil society organizations.

However, recent reports from Swiss newspapers Tribune de Geneve and 24 heures revealed Puech's change of heart, describing his potential heir as a "servant, former gardener, and handyman."

The Isocrates Foundation has contested Puech's decision to sever ties, claiming the unilateral cancellation of the inheritance contract to be legally baseless. The foundation has opposed the contract's cancellation but remains open to discussions with its founder.

Puech's inheritance contract with the foundation stipulates that his shares in Hermès would go to the charity unless he fathers a child. In such a case, the child would be entitled to a portion of the inheritance, with at least 50% if it's a son.

Renowned for its silk scarves and leather handbags, Hermès has experienced a post-pandemic surge in luxury goods demand. This boom has elevated the company's valuation to nearly €211 billion ($230.8 billion), making Puech's stake, which is about 5.7%, exceedingly valuable.

The Hermès family, which ceased detailing Puech's exact stake in 2016, is listed as the world's third wealthiest family in Bloomberg's annual ranking.

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