The grandson of the Hermès fashion house founder, Nicolas Puech, is reportedly planning an unconventional succession strategy by adopting his 51-year-old former gardener as his legal child. This move, reminiscent of a storyline from the movie Annie, involves a twist where Puech, an unmarried and childless billionaire, aims to pass on a significant portion of his wealth to his gardener.


Nicolas Puech, an 80-year-old fifth-generation heir to Hermès, possesses a fortune estimated between 9 billion and 10 billion Swiss francs. With around 5% to 6% ownership of the luxury brand valued at $220 billion, he ranks among Switzerland’s wealthiest individuals.

Puech’s decision to pass on his wealth to his gardener involves legal procedures and rearranging his estate beneficiaries. The gardener, married with two children, stands to inherit a substantial portion of Puech’s wealth, including properties in Marrakesh and Montreux valued at €5.5 million.


Puech’s strained history with the Hermès company, particularly stemming from disputes following a takeover attempt by LVMH, could contribute to his unconventional choice of heir. He resigned from the company’s supervisory board amid family conflicts and criticisms, leading to a significant rift between him and other family members.

As part of a broader trend in the great wealth transfer, where billionaires plan to pass on trillions in wealth, Puech’s decision stands out as an unconventional approach. Most billionaires distribute their wealth among family and philanthropic causes or transfer control of their companies to family members. Puech, however, deviates from this norm by choosing his former gardener as a successor.


However, obstacles exist for Puech’s unique plan. Adopting an adult, although not unheard of, is highly uncommon and involves complex legal requirements in Switzerland. Additionally, Puech faces challenges due to a previous commitment to allocate his fortune to Isocrates, a foundation he established to combat misinformation. The foundation opposes the cancellation of Puech’s commitment and might contest his plans legally.

Sky TG24 suggests that Puech’s adoption plan might serve as a legal maneuver to prevent the foundation from challenging parts of his will.

The situation remains complex and faces potential legal hurdles, particularly concerning the adoption of an adult and conflicting commitments to a philanthropic foundation.

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