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| 13 December 2013 | By Alexander Gaffney, RAC
He's a staple of legislative hearings, a member of a group charged with re-aligning the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a long-time veteran of the agency and the right-hand man to Commissioner Margaret Hamburg.
But as of January 2014, John Taylor, counselor to the commissioner and acting deputy commissioner for global regulatory operations and policy, is leaving the agency.
Taylor started his career at FDA in 1991, and remained there until 2005 when he left to join Abbott Laboratories and then the trade group BIO in 2007. He returned to FDA in 2009.
Taylor has held a wide range of jobs at the agency since he began in 1991, including associate commissioner for regulatory affairs (2002 to 2005), director of the Office of Enforcement (2000 to 2002), acting director of the Office of Compliance in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (2000), special assistant to the associate commissioner for regulatory affairs (1999), senior advisor for regulatory policy within the Office of the Commissioner (1996 to 1999) and attorney in the Office of the Chief Counsel (1991 to 1996).
Taylor's current acting position as the head of global regulatory operations and policy (also known as GO) is the second major departure for the group this year, after Deborah Autor left the agency to join Mylan in April 2013.
The planned departure, announced in an internal agency memo made available to Regulatory Focus on 13 December, also comes just three months after Taylor was named to FDA's new Program Alignment Group, which is tasked with reorganizing FDA's regulatory programs to better confront future challenges.
In a statement, Hamburg praised Taylor, calling him a good-humored and uncannily calm leader during difficult situations.
"[Taylor] has always stepped up in the times when I have needed him most to take on specific tasks that represent my highest priorities, including those related to globalization, FDASIA, and pharmacy compounding," Hamburg wrote. "John has been a catalyst for organizational progress and change while handling and managing the high demands of the Office of the Commissioner. And notably, John agreed to serve as the Acting Principal Deputy Commissioner during a time when the Agency was in a period of transition, for which I am extremely grateful."
Hamburg did not offer any information on Taylor's plans other than to say he would be pursuing "other opportunities." Focus did not hear back from Taylor by the time of this article's publication.