Gerhard Schroder's Next Big Job

SERGEI GUNEYEV FOR TIME

Putin, at left, and Schröder in Germany last year

After leaving office in November, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder wasted no time sprucing up his résumé. He took a job as consultant with Swiss publishers Ringier in November; he even attended a rural language school in Wales to brush up on his English. Russian, though, might have been a better choice. Only weeks after brokering, as Chancellor, a deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin for a gas pipeline linking the two countries, Schröder earlier this month stepped into the role of project chairman. Set to start piping gas into Europe in 2010, the $5-billion North European Gas Pipeline is controlled...