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July 29, 2002


Klein to Become First Appointed Chancellor of Department of Education

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the appointment of Joel I. Klein as New York City Schools Chancellor. Klein currently is the Chairman and CEO of Bertelsmann, Inc. Previously, he was Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division where he transformed the division into a staunch protector of the nation's antitrust laws to protect the integrity of American commerce. Klein will become the first Schools Chancellor appointed under the new school governance legislation, which gives the Mayor control of New York City's 1.1 million-student public school system. Like the Police and Fire Commissioners, Chancellor Klein will report directly to the Mayor. The appointment is pending upon the issuance of a waiver by the State Education Commissioner Richard P. Mills.

"Joel Klein embodies the exact qualities we need in a Schools Chancellor: integrity, dynamism, the ability to bring diverse constituencies together and an unwavering commitment to results," Mayor Bloomberg said. "Running one of the Justice Department's most successful divisions as well as a major media company has given him the extensive and wide-ranging management experience necessary to turn our schools around. He knows how to run a large organization, from picking the best people, to balancing large budgets, and making sure everyone is accountable. We now have the chance to fix our schools and give our children the education they deserve and need. There is no doubt in my mind that Joel Klein will seize this historic opportunity so that every child has the opportunity to pursue the American dream."

"As a product of New York City's public schools, I owe my teachers and this City's schools more than I can ever repay," Klein said. "Today, as I accept this appointment with enormous gratitude to Mayor Bloomberg, I acknowledge that debt and pledge to do all that I can to give each child in New York City a first-rate education and the keys to unlock what this remarkable world has to offer. The Governor and the State Legislature have given us the means and I look forward to working with teachers, parents and the Panel on Educational Policy, because everyone is part of the solutions we seek to the challenges we face."

Since January 2001, Joel Klein has been the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Bertelsmann, Inc., and Chief U.S. Liaison Officer to Bertelsmann AG. Bertelsmann, Inc., is the corporate-services arm of Bertelsmann AG, one of the world's largest media companies, earning more than $20 billion in revenues annually with over 76,000 employees in more than 54 countries. As Chairman and CEO in the United States, Klein has had responsibility for a wide range of management and strategic matters from the day-to-day management of corporate finances to the integration of corporate functions to increase efficiency. During his tenure, he has improved cooperation and coordination among the company's previously decentralized business units, a challenge complicated by a culturally and geographically diverse workforce. In addition, Klein has been in charge of the company's corporate ethics.

In 1997, Klein was appointed the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division. While at the helm of the 700-lawyer division with a $100 million annual budget, Klein brought landmark cases against Microsoft, WorldCom/Sprint, Visa/Mastercard, American Airlines, and General Electric, prevailing in a large majority of them. By fiercely enforcing the nation's antitrust laws to protect the rights of consumers and the integrity of America's commercial markets, he is widely credited with transforming the division into one of the Clinton Administration's greatest successes. Klein also served as Acting Assistant Attorney General and as the Antitrust Division's Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General (1995-96). Before his appointment to the Justice Department, Klein was Deputy Counsel to President Clinton (1993-95).

Before joining the Clinton Administration, Klein practiced law in Washington, DC, for twenty years. He was a law clerk, first to Chief Judge David Bazelon on the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (1973-74), and then to Justice Lewis Powell on the United States Supreme Court. He next worked at the Mental Health Law Project, a public interest law firm from 1975 to 1976. For the following five years, he was an associate and partner at Rogovin, Stern & Huge (1976-81). In 1981, Mr. Klein joined with two colleagues to start their own law firm, Onek, Klein & Farr, where his practice focused heavily on health care and constitutional litigation. He also specialized in appellate advocacy, having briefed and argued before the US Courts of Appeals and the US Supreme Court, winning nine of the eleven cases he argued before the high court.

Klein possesses considerable experience in the field of education. During a leave of absence from law school in 1969, he studied at New York University's School of Education and then taught math to sixth-graders at a public school in Queens until he was called upon by the US Army Reserves for Basic Training. Klein has also served as a visiting and an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center, where he taught Civil Procedure, Federal Jurisdiction, and a seminar on complex constitutional litigation. He has also lectured widely and has published several articles in both scholarly and popular journals. While in Washington, Klein served as a member of Mayor Anthony Williams' "Kitchen Cabinet," where they discussed improving the City's schools through the Mayor's plan to take over the school board.

Klein was born in New York City on October 25, 1946. He attended City public schools and graduated from William Cullen Bryant High School. He received his BA from Columbia University where he graduated magna cum laude/Phi Beta Kappa in 1967, and he received his JD from Harvard Law School, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1971. He is married to Nicole Seligman and they have a daughter from a previous marriage.

Chancellor Klein will be the first Chancellor to work out of the new Department of Education headquarters, the Tweed Courthouse. The District Superintendents and other direct-reports will also work out of the Tweed Courthouse, which should be ready by the beginning of school.

"During his incredibly distinguished career as an advocate, Joel Klein has gained exceptional analytical skills through years of intense litigation, prosecuting massive corporations, and even arguing before the Supreme Court. His unique background, skills and experience will allow him to take a fresh look at the problems plaguing the school system which have been thought of as intractable. Perhaps most importantly, he is a true leader who never shies away from the tough and sometimes controversial decisions that are necessary to implement change," Mayor Bloomberg concluded.

Contact: Edward Skyler / Jerry Russo
(212) 788-2958