Craig DeLarge, until yesterday, Global Leader, Multichannel Marketing Strategy & Innovation at Merck, announced his departure from the pharmaceutical industry on his Facebook timeline.

“Yesterday,” said Craig, ‘was my last day as ‪#‎Global‬ Leader, MCM ‪#‎Strategy‬ & ‪#‎Innovation‬ at ‪#‎Merck‬. It has been a good, highly developmental & productive 2 years at the ‘‪#‎leadership‬ school’, I have fondly come to refer to Merck as. I am grateful for the leaders who brought me in, and the colleagues I co-developed and co-created with during my tenure.

“Moving on, I am furthering my practice in the areas of ‪#‎digitalhealthcare‬, ‪#‎changeleadership‬ and ‪#‎mentalhealth‬ outcomes. I will be taking time to explore how I can best contribute my leadership, ‪#‎creativity‬ and management in these areas in either freelance, ‪#‎consulting‬ or organizational leadership contexts.

“In particular, I will be focusing on a ‪#‎sabbatical‬ research project to map ‘digital mental health’ over the next 4 months as this brings together my expertise in digital health and my interest in mental health, related to my ‪#‎NAMI‬ Board work.
I offer my best wishes to my management and colleagues I am leaving behind. I welcome the good wishes and assistance of any who know of opportunities for me to contribute in the three areas I mention above.”

Craig has influenced countless people in his nearly 25 years within and outside the pharmaceutical industry. Let me tell you how he has influenced me.

I first met Craig in 2006 at an eyeforpharma eCommunications and Online Marketing conference. At that conference, “The Girl from Google“(GfG) presented an example of an Adword that was, in my opinion, in violation of FDA regulations because it mentioned the brand name and indication without any mention of major side effects.

When I asked the audience what they thought, Craig — perhaps playing the devil’s advocate — contended that the ad may pass muster with the FDA because the package insert or brief summary is “one or two clicks away.” His argument was that without specific guidance from the FDA, no one knows what is correct in this case.

Thus began my long relationship against Google’s “BadAd” program and my friendship with Craig.

Although Craig is highly regarded as a digital marketing “guru,” his “extracurricular” activities such as his mentoring of young people interested in a career in the life sciences were equally inspirational.

For example, Craig was a co-founder of the “The Life Sciences Profiles of Color Project,” which highlighted how people of color achieve success in the life sciences and what prepared them to assume positions of power and responsibility in the industry. Read more about that here.

Now Craig can focus all his efforts on making a difference in the mental health arena through the confluence of his experience with digital health, change management, and outcomes. I wish him great success in his new career!