Joel Klein Quits as NYC Schools Chancellor for News Corp.; Hearst’s Cathie Black to Replace Him

Media executives shuffled in Mayor Bloomberg’s cabinet

Big story in New York on Monday, which, like the city's mayor, blurs the line between government and media.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that Joel Klein, the former chairman and chief executive of Bertelsmann, is stepping down after eight years as New York City schools chancellor to take a job at Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. Cathie Black, chairman of Hearst Magazines, will replace Klein as the head of the nation's largest school system.

Klein's title at News Corp. will be executive vice president, and he'll "advise News Corp. on opportunities to invest in digital initiatives in the education market," according to the Wall Street Journal.

In tapping Klein, the Justice Department's antitrust chief under Bill Clinton, News Corp. picks up a three-fer: a prominent Democrat to replace the now-departed COO Peter Chernin; an antitrust lawyer ready to fight the case for new acquisitions; and someone who has been battling for education, a concern of Rupert Murdoch.

“He leaves a legacy of achievement that makes him one of the most important and transformational educational leaders of our time,” Bloomberg said.

Black, who stepped down as Hearst Magazines president earlier this year, retaining the chairman title, will be the first woman to serve in that position. She will leave Hearst, the company said.

“There’s no one who knows more about the skills our children will need to succeed in the 21st century economy,” Bloomberg said of Black, who prior to her reign at Hearst was the publisher of the USA Today.

Black stepped aside as Hearst Magazines president in June when David Carey, longtime Condé Nast executive and group president at Wired and Golf Digest, left Condé Nast to become head of the Hearst division.

When asked about Black's apparent lack of experience in public education, Bloomberg responded like this: "Cathy is a world-class manager, and she is uniquely qualified to take us in the direction people keep talking about: jobs, jobs, jobs. That is something Cathie Black knows about, as much as anybody in this room."

[Photo via WSJ]