(Adds quote from Thompson)
NEW YORK, Oct 2 (Reuters) - The chief executive of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Craig Thompson, resigned from the boards of drugmaker Merck & Co Inc and lab services firm Charles River Laboratories International Inc on Tuesday, following media investigations about the U.S. center's ties to the pharmaceutical industry.
"I have taken feedback from our staff and faculty seriously and intend to lead by example," Dr. Thompson said in a statement. "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."
The move follows the resignation of Sloan Kettering's chief medical officer, Jose Baselga, in September, after a New York Times and ProPublica investigation revealed that he had not disclosed millions of dollars in payments from healthcare companies in many of his research articles.
Baselga also resigned from the board of Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Merck said in a statement that Thompson's contributions on its board "demonstrate why it is so important to have leaders from the medical community represented."
The drug company said the size of its board will shrink to 12 directors after Thompson's resignation.
Charles River Laboratories declined to comment. (Reporting by Michael Erman Editing by Leslie Adler and Rosalba O'Brien)