Klein Quits as Bertelsmann’s Stateside Head Honcho

30 July 2002

While the dust is still settling around the ousting of his former boss at Bertelsmann, Thomas Middelhoff, the group’s head of US operations Joel Klein has also quit.

Klein, a former lawyer with the US justice department, had been with the company only eighteen months. In addition to his corporate duties, he also ran the stateside operations of Bertelsmann units Random House and the BMG record label which included its controversial online music subsidiary Napster.

It is claimed that Klein’s departure is unrelated to the Middelhoff affair, having tendered his resignation last Thursday – two days before the latter was fired. It is entirely possible, however, that the canny Klein saw the writing on the wall and packed his parachute – returning to the public sector as New York schools chancellor reporting to Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Bertelsmann’s lips were zipped over Klein’s surprise move. Not so those at New York’s City Hall: “Mr Klein cannot do both roles. This is a huge job in its own right,” snapped a spokesperson.

Data sourced from: MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff