An Hermès Heir Wants to Give Half His $12 Billion Fortune to His Gardener—and Lawyers Are Going Nuts Nicolas Puech, the grandson of Hermès' founder, intends to legally adopt the 51-year-old former groundskeeper as his son, ensuring he inherits his billions.

By Jonathan Small

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It's Succession meets Knives Out—only this Hollywood-like plot is real.

Nicolas Puech, 80, the estranged Hermès heir, announced a bold plan to adopt his 51-year-old former gardener and handyman to bequeath him his $11 billion fortune. Puech is the grandson of the founder of the fashion giant and owns 5.7% of the company.

According to the Swiss publication Tribune de Genève, the reclusive Peuch has little contact with his family. Single and childless, he considers the gardener (whose name has not been released) to be like kin. Not much else is known publicly about the gardener besides that he comes "from a modest Moroccan family" and has a Spanish wife and two children.

Related: 'Wolf in Cashmere' Bernard Arnault Has a Cutthroat Reputation. In a 'Succession'-Like Drama, He's Eyeing His Replacement — and It Might Not Be Family.

Reversal of fortune

Previously, Peuch promised to hand over his money to his foundation. But earlier this year, he had a change of heart, sending a "handwritten note" to the foundation expressing his wishes for a new succession. Shockwaves ensued.

With no direct heirs to his name, the billionaire may get away with his plan. But not without major legal hurdles. According to Tribune de Genève, adopting an adult child in Switzerland is complicated—add that the adoptee stands to earn billions, and it becomes a high-stakes battle.

Bad blood

This is not the first time Puech has clashed with his family. In 2014, he left Hermès board of directors after a hostile takeover bid by fashion rival LVMH. But he retained his shares, making him among the wealthiest individuals in Switzerland. He now lives in a mansion with 66 other inhabitants in La Fouly, according to El Pais.

Hermès, now the third-largest publicly listed company in France worth an estimated $200 billion, is no stranger to the spotlight. Still, this latest development has taken center stage, evoking questions and curiosity about the future of this storied empire.

Jonathan Small

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® VIP

Founder, Write About Now Media

Jonathan Small is an award-winning author, journalist, producer, and podcast host. For 25 years, he has worked as a sought-after storyteller for top media companies such as The New York Times, Hearst, Entrepreneur, and Condé Nast. He has held executive roles at Glamour, Fitness, and Entrepreneur and regularly contributes to The New York Times, TV Guide, Cosmo, Details, Maxim, and Good Housekeeping. He is the former “Jake” advice columnist for Glamour magazine and the “Guy Guru” at Cosmo.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Related Topics

Starting a Business

3 Values That Empower Entrepreneurs As They Start Their Business Journeys

The initial stages of entrepreneurship can be tough, but these tips can help you power through.

Growing a Business

Expand Your Knowledge and Unlock Success With These Must-Read Business Books

Top business books to ignite your entrepreneurial journey.

Business Ideas

55 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Growing a Business

Overcome Startup Growth Challenges in 2024 By Utilizing This Valuable Resource

Although there is some hope that the venture capital market is slowly stabilizing, the upcoming year will still be competitive for most startups. Here's a solution that can help some to get ahead in the Hunger Games.


Most Business Partnerships Fail — 5 Hacks to Make Sure Yours Stays Intact

Collabs may be all the rage, but whether or not they succeed comes down to the ability to forge strong and mutually beneficial business relationships.


Adapting to Change Is Key to Surviving Every Consumer Demand — Just Ask Netflix, Blockbuster, WeWork and More

Many businesses have closed down because they did not spot major changes and failed to adapt to the new reality. Don't let yours be one of them by learning from history.