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"Joel has also demonstrated a truly impressive wealth and breadth of knowledge about technology, and broad expertise in Internet- and technology-driven businesses."
——Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Middelhoff
BERTELSMANN TAPS JOEL KLEIN AS CHAIRMAN/CEO
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Bertelsmann AG has named former Department of Justice Antitrust Division head Joel Klein to the newly created post of Chairman/CEO of Bertelsmann Inc. and Chief U.S. Liaison Officer for its German base.  The move reunites him with his one-time DOJ colleague (and current Napster lawyer) David Boies.  The two worked together in the government's case against Microsoft.

Now why on earth would Bertelsmann hire a former DOJ antitrust expert to helm their U.S. operations?  Oh, yeah, they're trying to get a merger through regulatory commissions.

A former attorney, Klein will oversee the company's U.S. corporate functions, advising the media giant on legal issues and venture capital activities. He will also help expand its Internet and e-commerce activities and serve as a strategic advisor to Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Middelhoff.

"Joel embodies the highest standards of integrity, corporate citizenship and fair competition. We are delighted to secure a leader of his caliber and magnitude," said Middelhoff in a statement. "We look forward to drawing on his expertise in a wide range of legal and regulatory areas. Joel has also demonstrated a truly impressive wealth and breadth of knowledge about technology, and broad expertise in Internet- and technology-driven businesses. His addition demonstrates Bertelsmann's continuing commitment to expanding its role in U.S. media markets."

Middelhoff told the Wall Street Journal that he hopes the addition of Klein can help familiarize the U.S. public with Bertelsmann. "It is really time that Bertelsmann gets a face in the American public... We are good corporate citizens.  These are things that are best represented by a person with the character of Joel."

"Bertelsmann is the world's most international media company, with terrific properties in the U.S.," said Klein. "It is also one of the leading media companies on the Internet. I look forward to joining this world-class organization and assisting in its growth and expansion, in America and around the world."

Klein says he frequently met with Middelhoff about twice a year at Washington, D.C., restaurants like the Four Seasons, where they thumb-wrestled over the check.

"He was interested in learning about the U.S. and obviously, about antitrust and competition policies in a general sense.  I found that learning from him about technology and e-commerce was very helpful."

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