Longtime agency leader Steven Michaelson announced his retirement on Tuesday morning.

Michaelson, 67, founded two A-list agencies — Wishbone, in 1998, and Calcium, in 2012 — and has long served as one of the preeminent ambassadors for the broader community of medical marketing agencies. Prior to his stints as an agency entrepreneur, Michaelson worked at a handful of venerable firms, including Robert A. Becker, Harrison and Star, and DraftFCB.

Most recently, Michaelson helped engineer a pair of major transitions at Calcium. In November 2021, the company sold itself to private equity firm NexPhase Capital. In January, the agency launched Calcium + Company, an overarching structure that houses Calcium, medcomms unit Vitamin MD, PR arm PRotein and oncology division Amino.

When Calcium accepted the PE investment, Michaelson ceded the Calcium CEO role to his business partner and wife Judy Capano and became chairman. Even in that slightly more limited role, however, Michaelson felt overextended.

“I was trying to lighten my load, to be semi-retired and work at the same time, but I was doing neither as well as I’d like to,” he said.

He leaves Calcium in good hands, with longtime lieutenants Greg Lewis (managing partner and group president) and Steve Hamburg (managing partner and chief strategy officer) continuing to lead the firm alongside Capano. Per the 2022 MM+M Agency 100, Calcium grew revenue 38%, to $46 million, in 2021. 

In addition to his stewardship of Calcium, Michaelson has long supported a range of industry programs. He formerly served as chairman of the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame and has sat on its board for nearly two decades. 

“His dedication to giving back to the industry he’s helped shape is tremendous,” said MAHF executive director Anne Gideon. “He’s volunteered so much of his time, including serving as our chair, to help move our mission forward.”

Michaelson has also served on the advisory board of Haven Kids Rock, a music program for young victims of abuse and neglect. Charities with which he has worked closely include the USTA Foundation, the Community-Police Relations Foundation and The Great American Milk Drive.

As for what comes next, Michaelson said he plans to enjoy everything retirement has to offer. 

“It’s time. When I was 57, I was full of fire. At 67, you’re like, ‘How long am I going to do this for?,” Michaelson said, adding with laugh. “I’m tired of being the oldest guy in the room.”