Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Center’s chief executive, Craig Thompson, has resigned from two boards, Merck and Charles River Laboratories, following investigations of conflicts of interest. Thompson issued a statement about his decision to resign:
“I have taken feedback from our staff and faculty seriously and intend to lead by example. I believe this is the right decision for Memorial Sloan Kettering and will allow me to redouble my focus on MSK priorities: quality patient care, faculty, scientists and staff.”
Sloan Kettering’s chief medical officer, Jose Baselga, was accused of not reporting millions of dollars he received from pharmaceutical companies for his research articles. Baselga previously resigned from Memorial Sloan Kettering as well as Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he served on the board. As one former patient wrote, failing to disclose payments gives “the appearance of influence is troubling. It highlights ineffective oversight, with the potential to cast a shadow on the center’s other excellent doctors.”
When the story first broke, Memorial Sloan Kettering leadership wrote a letter stating, “MSK and our faculty need to do a better job.”
Analyze the MSK letter. Who is the audience, and what are the communication objectives? How do you assess the organization and writing style?
Should Thompson also resign his chief executive position at MSK? Why or why not?
How well does MSK leadership take responsibility for the problems? How is this an issue of integrity for MSK?