Luxury Brand Heir Plans To Leave Fortune To His Gardener

Nicolas Puech is reportedly already in the process of adopting his 51-year-old gardener.

80-year-old Nicolas Puech is the fifth-generation heir of Thierry Hermès, the eponymous founder of the luxury fashion house. Puech, who reportedly owns around 5% or 6% of the company, has no heirs of his own.

According to Bilan magazine, Puech is among the richest people in Switzerland. The Hermès heir has a net worth of around nine to 10 billion Swiss francs (between $10.3 billion and $11.4 billion).

READ ALSO: Lifetime’s Worth Of Treasures: Hubert Guerrand-Hermès Acquires An Exceptional Collection To Be Auctioned In December

The chosen heir

Making an unusual move, he plans to adopt his 51-year-old gardener and handyman so that he can transfer his fortune. Swiss publication Tribune de Genève reported that the gardener comes from a “modest Moroccan family” and has two children of his own.

Hermes storefront
Image by Olena Kamenetska via Unsplash

Puech has already hired a legal team to take him through the process of passing his wealth to his gardener and rearranging the benefactors of his estate. Tribune de Genève also reported that the unnamed gardener could stand to inherit half of Puech’s wealth.

An Italian outlet, Sky TG24, reported that Puech already gave the gardener properties in Marrakesh, Morocco, and Montreux, Switzerland, worth a combined total of $5.9 million.

The Hermès family feud

To make sense of Puech’s decision, we would need to look back on his relationship with the rest of his family. The Hermès heir quit the company’s board back in 2014. This was after LVMH acquired 23% of Hermès in a hostile takeover.

His other family members set up a holding company for their shares in an attempt to block the takeover. However, Puech held on to his shares, causing a rift between them even after the dispute settled.

“He resigned because he has felt for several years beleaguered by members of his family, who have attacked him on several fronts, not only regarding LVMH,” Puech’s spokesperson said at the time.

Hermes building in Hong Kong
Image by nic chi via Unsplash

“He has had some very bad experiences and felt very badly and felt harshly criticized on numerous occasions, even while he is very attached to Hermès.”

This may be one of the reasons why he decided against giving over his wealth to family members. Instead, he chose someone else who seemed to have made an impression on his life.

However, he still faces some complications over the adoption of an adult. Puech also has a standing pact with his foundation, Isocrates. He previously pledged his fortune to the foundation, which is dedicated to tackling misinformation.

A representative for Isocrates spoke to Fortune, saying, “From a legal point of view, an abrupt and unilateral cancellation of the contract of inheritance seems void and unfounded.” The foundation chose not to comment on Puech’s plans to adopt his gardener.

Banner image via X @Hermes_Paris.

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