By Jake Crosby
Revelations about Mark Blaxill’s ties to his former employer the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and its pharmaceutical clients – in contradiction to what he said in a recently recorded interview on Linderman Unleashed – have now come to the attention of Autism Investigated. These discoveries were made on the heels of even more troubling evidence coming to light: see the previous post about Mark Blaxill turning the lead omnibus attorneys against expert witnesses Dr. Mark and David Geier with baseless and profane attacks against them.
In spite of Mark Blaxill claiming on Linderman Unleashed that he was fired from the BCG – suggesting his autism advocacy played a role – he appears to have voluntarily left the firm for the purpose of starting his own company and for reasons wholly unrelated to autism. In fact, Blaxill still maintains ties to BCG despite no longer being employed with the firm as Senior Vice President and despite claiming he no longer has a conflict of interest “of any kind.” Blaxill also falsely claimed to have always consulted for non-pharmaceutical clients while a BCG executive, merely admitting the firm had pharmaceutical clients but he in fact concealed from Linderman’s audience that he had consulted for Merck during his BCG employment.
Here’s the story he gave on his podcast interview with Curt Linderman, dated October 24, 2013, regarding his BCG departure:
“And then in 2006 – early in 2006 not very long after Evidence of Harm came out – all of a sudden I found myself without a job, and I was no longer at the Boston Consulting Group…I did have issues that concerned me, and it actually didn’t stop me from speaking out, Curt, but it did worry me a little, and who knows? Maybe my worries were founded because I’m not working there anymore, and that was not my choice.”
However, the book Lords of Strategy: The Secret Intellectual History of the New Corporate World by Walter Kiechel tells a story about Mark Blaxill’s departure from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) that totally contradicts what Blaxill told Linderman. According to Kiechel:
“Blaxill wanted to push on to the issue of motivation, of why people worked on Linux for free, even into issues of creativity, but couldn’t find the time or support within the firm for exploring those dimensions. “The antibodies resisted that,” he says. In 2006, Blaxill left BCG to set up his own firm, 3LP Advisors, to concentrate on the intersection of strategy, intellectual property, and innovation.”
In his interview on Linderman, Blaxill said 3LP Advisors was founded as a result of his firing from Boston Consulting Group, claiming the termination of his employment “was not my choice.” Yet not only was it his choice according to Kiechel, but in fact Blaxill left Boston Consulting Group so that he could found 3LP Advisors to practice his own business strategy the way he liked – nothing to do with autism.
Linderman then further questioned Blaxill specifically about his conflict of interest with Boston Consulting Group since 2006:
“To me it would seem as if you were still with this company and you still had this conflict of interest, and that is not the case since 2006?”
To which Blaxill replied by emphatically denying possession of any conflict of interest:
“Curt, I don’t have a conflict of interest of any kind now, and I have not had one for years. I haven’t had a conflict since I started the Age of Autism with JB Handley and Dan Olmsted and Kim Stagliano back in 2007. I haven’t had a conflict since I wrote the book The Age of Autism. I haven’t had a conflict since starting the Canary Party. The only time I had a conflict was when I was helping David Kirby and contributing to the Evidence of Harm book. And it’s even in the book, Curt; I have never hid the conflict. I’ve actually been public with people and open with people about the concerns I’ve had. So it’s not as though there is any great secrets I was keeping. And whatever concern I had, it is not operative any longer.”
However, Blaxill remains a board member of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), which has received over $25,000 annually from Boston Consulting Group. Serving on the board with him is none other than Boston Consulting Group’s Chairman of the Board Carl Stern.
ICIC’s chairman and founder as well as Harvard Business School Prof. Michael Porter was thanked in no uncertain terms in the acknowledgements section of the book Blaxill coauthored in 2009 with his business partner Ralph Eckardt, “The Invisible Edge: Taking Your Strategy to the Next Level Using Intellectual Property“:
“[The Boston Consulting Group Founder's] ideas have been extended and enriched by the academic and consulting community in Boston, most notably by Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter, on one hand, and our former colleagues at BCG on another.”
Blaxill and Eckardt then summed up their relationship with Prof. Porter as follows:
“Michael Porter has been a teacher, a collaborator, a client, and a friend.”
It seems Blaxill and Eckardt are not the only ones with high praise for Prof. Porter. When Porter was awarded a prestigious University Professorship at Harvard, Merck’s then-chairman, president and CEO Raymond Gilmartin (who later resigned over the Vioxx scandal and became a Harvard Business School Professor himself) told the Harvard Gazette:
“Through his research, teaching, and writing, Mike Porter has made an indelible mark on businesses and markets everywhere. His leading-edge research has directly influenced the strategies and competitiveness of individual firms and the nation. More recently, he has helped to identify the key drivers of innovation, which has now become the basis of global competition. His insights are directly relevant to understanding the vital ingredients for success in a host of industries, including pharmaceuticals.”
Clearly Blaxill has much to gain by serving on ICIC’s board of directors with his former employer BCG’s Chairman of the Board while under Prof. Porter’s chairmanship. ICIC’s website boasts that the organization’s partners “gain as well as give.” It’s hard to fathom how Blaxill could honestly claim on Linderman to not possess a conflict of interest “of any kind.”
But Blaxill was not even honest in the Linderman interview about what he did during his past employment for BCG. He claimed:
“…I always worked with industrial companies, automotive, forest products, computers-type companies, but they also had pharmaceutical clients.”
But he did not solely work with those companies, because Blaxill consulted for Merck directly as a BCG employee himself. In 2010, he told me he had visited Merck’s headquarters in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. Later at a 2011 gathering in Waltham, Massachusetts, where Blaxill announced his preliminary plans to found the Canary Party – I overheard him telling someone about his experience consulting for Merck, describing his former clients as “not that smart.”
Despite suggesting his departure from Boston Consulting Group was some sort of martyrdom for his autism advocacy and that he no longer has any ties to the firm, it appears that Mark Blaxill was not fired, but left on his own terms wholly unrelated to autism and even remains connected to his former employer who continues to serve pharmaceutical clients.
Jake Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated and is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. He is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a Bachelor of Arts in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy and a 2013 graduate of The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services with a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology. He currently attends the University of Texas School of Public Health where he is studying for a Ph.D. in Epidemiology.