Could this be the start of something big?

Matthias Döpfner (43), chief executive of Europe's largest newspaper publisher Axel Springer, has joined the board of Time Warner the mightiest media group this side of Alpha Centauri.

The partyline at TW is that Döpfner's appointment will give the board more global perspective. Some onlookers, however, believe it could be somewhat more significant, possibly heralding an alliance between the two media titans.

Döpfner's hand has been on the Springer tiller since 2002. Under his guidance the company has been successfully restructured and refocused on international expansion. He becomes the twelfth member of the TW board.

A former journalist, Döpfner won many friends on the American right when in January 2005 he penned a widely circulated polemic titled Europe - Thy Name Is Cowardice, attacking those who would rather try to understand the realpolitik of the Middle East and reach an accommodation through non-military means.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff