When Joel Klein stepped down as the U.S. Justice Dept.'s antitrust chief in September, he made one thing clear: He did not want to be thought of merely as a trust-busting lawyer. He got his wish on Jan. 31, when he was named head of the service arm of German media giant Bertelsmann's North American division.
About one-third of Klein's work will draw on his legal background. The rest will involve advising Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Middelhoff on strategic deals such as the merger of Bertelsmann's music group with London's EMI and helping to navigate the company's relationship with online music distributor Napster. "This is the right mix for me," he says.
Klein's move may come as a surprise to many--but not to those who have followed his career zigzags. Before taking on Microsoft at the Justice Dept., Klein was an advocate for the mentally ill, an appellate specialist, and a deputy White House counsel. Most recently, the New Economy has been his focus. At Bertelsmann, he'll see it from the other side.