Joel I. Klein ’67

Joel I. Klein ’67 is CEO of the Education Division (now called Amplify) and executive vice president at News Corp., as well as a member of News Corp.’s Board of Directors.

Klein became Amplify’s CEO and News Corp.’s executive vice president in January 2011. Prior to that, he was chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, where he oversaw a system of more than 1,600 schools with 1.1 million students, 136,000 employees and a $22 billion budget. In 2002, as chancellor, Klein launched Children First, a comprehensive reform strategy that has brought coherence and capacity to the system and resulted in significant increases in student performance.

A former chairman and CEO of the U.S. arm of Bertelsmann, a global media company, Klein was Assistant U.S. Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice October 1996–September 2000 and was Deputy White House Counsel to President Clinton 1993–95. He entered the Clinton administration after 20 years of public and private legal work in Washington, D.C.

Klein graduated magna cum laude from the College and earned a J.D. from Harvard Law in 1971, also magna cum laude. He has received honorary degrees from Amherst, Columbia, Dartmouth, Duke, Fordham Law, Georgetown Law Center, Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, Manhattanville, New York Law, Pace and St. John’s School of Education. He received a John Jay Award for distinguished professional achievement in 2002, was selected by Time Magazine as one of “Ten People Who Mattered” in 1999 and by U.S. News & World Report as “One of America’s 20 Best Leaders” in 2006, and was given the prestigious NYU Lewis Rudin Award in 2009 and the Manhattan Institute’s Alexander Hamilton Award in 2011.

Klein has been active in Columbia University affairs. While chancellor of NYC’s public schools, working with President Lee C. Bollinger he opened a new secondary school in Harlem that Columbia is supporting. He also served on the University’s Manhattanville Ad-Hoc Planning Committee and is helping to develop the University’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute.

He is married to Nicole Seligman, executive vice president/general counsel of Sony Corp. and president of Sony Corp. of America, and has a daughter, Julia, who is pursuing her doctorate in philosophy.