For the past two years, Scott Gottlieb missed a lot of time with his wife and three daughters – back-to-school nights, school games, and parent-teacher conferences.
The commute did not disturb him so much until the end of last year when He was on a call with an American senator and his second line kept ringing. It was his wife she was hit by a car while walking in a strip of mall parking lot and easily snapped his knee. but there was no quick way to get ten Between her plane and the hourly drive home from the airport.
"It is more important to me to feel disconnected and far away and not be there," Gottlieb said in an interview. "There was a fear that God forbid if something happened and I have to be home fast, I just couldn't."
Although he originally planned to stay with the agency through August, the accident helped put his priorities in order, he said. Top of the list: Spend the summer at home with his family.
That's pretty much what he told his staff when he resigned on March 5; He wanted to spend more time with his family.
Normally, when an official of Gottlieb's silence resigns in Washington or Wall Street, "rarely more time with my family" is rarely the right reason. And his unexpected departure, just two months after refusing plans to step down, wondered that he was in conflict with the Trump administration and forced out like many other senior officials over the last two years.
Not true, Gottlieb said in an interview at the agency's Silver Spring, Maryland headquarters, where his office bookshelf is filled with family photos. Befitting for the country's top food regulator, which is also a doctor, is the white house bowl on the desk covered with plastic foil to protect bacteria.
The 46-year-old still has a full career ahead of Hi M. He has worked at the FDA several times, invested in healthcare companies as a venture capitalist and written on health policy at the conservative think tank, the American Enterprise Institute. He refused to know what he would do next.
In his nearly two years at the FDA's rhythm, Gottlieb gave advanced sweeping initiatives such as making cigarettes minimally or non-addictive and authorizing generic drugs faster. He published about 175 Statements of Commissioners and gave countless media interviews that helped increase the FDA's size and influence.
Just two weeks before Allyson's accident, Gottlieb announced that the FDA would seek to limit the sale of fruity-flavored e-cigarettes. It is part of the biggest and controversial issues in his term of office: limitation of epidemic levels of teenage abuse.
He will go down before the policy is completed or implemented. It is one of a number of initiatives he advanced that he leaves unfinished. He says he would have wanted tobacco policies to be together even though he is "safe", they will come out.
Ned Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute, completes as acting FDA commissioner after Gottlieb's last day, which is Friday.
Right now, the only future plans Gottlieb said he is sure: to go to Disney World for spring break. (He let his daughters choose the holiday.) "The last week gets tough. The first week after I announced it was difficult," Gottlieb said. "I was very emotional because, in some respects, I go away from the best work I ever have. It's hard to do."
The night before Gottlieb announced his termination, he called his old boss and friend, former FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan.
"He said," just make sure you're ready to do this because there's nothing like this. You'll never get another job like this again, "Gottlieb says he says." And I know. I know enough. "
He also called as many of his FDA colleagues as he could before he announced his termination. When Washington Post's story broke, Gottlieb sat with two of his senior advisers in his office at the head office and human services. Their phones immediately began to ring.
Gottlieb said his predecessor Robert Califf warned him that it will feel weird when his phone stops ringing the day after he leaves.  As for the next, Gottlieb said that he has no idea.
"It's the first time in my life, I don't know what I'm doing next," he said. "I'm a doctor, so I always have had the next job I planned, but it is really the first time I leave a job and I have no work. "
One job he said, he looks forward to being a father again.