Cousteau 3.0

Christina Erb

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In the past ten years, Philippe Cousteau Jr. has seen the death of his grandfather, Jacques, the ascent of his uncle, Jean-Michel, to clan figurehead, and a series of nasty in-family lawsuits that fractured the Cousteau Society. Now, as the power struggles of the older Cousteaus fade, a third generation is emerging with the potential to put the family back at the forefront of ocean exploration. Among the grandchildren, Philippe, 28, has the best shot at achieving the recognition Jacques once commanded. Last year, he starred in Steve Irwin’s final show, Ocean’s Deadliest, which left him haunted by the loss of his friend but also brought him his own Discovery/BBC series—Oceans—slated for fall. This on top of launching the education organization EarthEcho International with his sister, Alexandra, and founding the consulting firm Azure Worldwide, which is currently advising former AOL chief Steve Case on his new, $800 million sustainable village, Cacique, in Costa Rica. Thanks to those lawsuits, he did it all without his family’s fortune. “We built these businesses from scratch,” says Philippe. “We have a great name, but if you don’t perform, you’re screwed.”

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