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Astellas Pharma Assistant Director, Operational Excellence in Northbrook, Illinois

Developing innovative therapies is one of the most challenging, most essential and personally rewarding fields in science. This is the most exciting time to be a part of Astellas, a company with a uniquely collaborative and patient-focused culture.

There's something special about working at Astellas. It's reflected in our focus on the people we serve, the way we treat each other and the results we achieve together as a company.

Astellas is announcing an Assistant Director, Operational Excellence in Northbrook, IL.

Purpose & Scope:

The position is a key member of Operational Excellence (part of Commercial Strategy & Operations (CS&O)) for Astellas US Commercial (US-C). This role drives the execution of strategic initiatives for US-C through the Astellas Project Management Methodology framework with cross-functional/regional teams. The person in this position will also work in collaboration with the commercial teams to accelerate strategies, capabilities, and infrastructure to optimize product launch, life cycle management and ongoing commercialization capabilities across the organization until the end of the product's lifecycle.

Essential Job Responsibilities:

  • Project management of enterprise-wide corporate strategic initiatives or select non-enterprise initiatives that drive growth (e.g., business transformation, new capability build), increase operational efficiency (e.g., process improvement) or maximize enterprise value (e.g., launch excellence, loss of exclusivity planning, life cycle management) in the organization.
  • Execute all project management activities including developing business case, project charter and governance, providing updates to senior leadership, developing and reporting milestone updates of project implementation and monitoring to ensure successful outcomes, facilitating and leading effective project meetings, managing change and conflict, developing resource planning estimates, and managing timelines and budgets.
  • Overall project delivery directly or through others (e.g., internal/external resources). This could include coordinating and managing global initiatives as well as regional or contribute as part of global initiative teams.
  • Act as a change agent as needed for project implementation to the organization to ensure continued project delivery success, including work with business partners to ensure essential document management and communications related to business activities.
  • Develop, monitor and report periodic status and milestone updates to ensure successful outcomes of the initiatives.
  • Collaborate with business partners (across functions) to ensure successful project implementation through the deployment of PM tools, processes, and personnel.
  • Identify and manage risks and mitigation plans, and work to manage logistics and activities while ensuring essential document management and communication.
  • Manage relationships and communication between internal and external project management resources, stakeholders, and senior management.
  • Achieve program management success by contributing information and recommendations to strategic plans and reviews; identify trends, and develop and implement action plans to establish best practices; implement productivity, quality, and communications standards to establish One Astellas approach to program and project Management
  • Collaborate with other regions globally to drive cross-regional initiatives, share information regarding initiative, approach, and best practices driving the One Astellas Way.
  • Manages relationships and communication between internal and external project managers, stakeholders, and senior management.

Quantitative Dimensions:

This position drives the successful execution of global and large regional strategic initiatives to ensure outcomes are achieved that align to business goals that impact corporate and departmental performance for US-C. It also is responsible for collaborating with other related functions within the other Astellas regions (e.g. EST-C, INT-M, ACN, JPN-C and API Business PMO) as well as global functions (e.g. Ethics & Compliance, Medical Affairs, Commercial Strategy & Capabilities) on projects/initiatives as needed.

Budget management and tracking for the respective strategic initiative/s managed by this position directly are also key areas of impact for the position.

Organizational Context:

Operational Excellence is a highly collaborative function integrating business strategy into, and ensuring, implementations are well orchestrated within stated governance framework. This position will require a high degree of communication with senior leadership, as well as collaboration with higher level internal colleagues across multiple functions.

This position will report to the Director, Operational Excellence. This position may have external resources reporting into it for project support.



  • Bachelor's Degree with a minimum of 7+ years' experience (or advanced degree in related field with a minimum of 5+ years) in executing large, cross functional or global initiatives using a project management framework within business operations
  • Experience within Healthcare and/or pharmaceutical industry
  • Excellent organizational, planning and project management skills with a strong attention to detail and ability to effectively manage multiple cross-functional projects simultaneously.
  • Demonstrated leadership in a matrix organization, able to motivate and inspire team members to high performance levels
  • Proven decision-making skills leading to successful outcomes
  • Demonstrated ability to present complex issues to higher level management and contribute to high level presentations and discussions
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and maintain effective collaborative relationships with team members, management and internal/external partners
  • Demonstrated ability to be a consistent high-level contributor or leader of multiple projects, processes, or functions
  • Ability to lead and support cross-functional teams to deliver against common goals
  • Ability to present complex issues to higher level management and contribute to high level presentations and discussions
  • Strong communication, conflict resolution, and leadership skills
  • Demonstrated experience influencing without authority
  • Proven track record of success being a high-level independent and team contributor to lead multiple project and processes
  • Experience working with teams / individuals with varied cultural backgrounds & learning styles
  • Intermediate to advanced competency and experience with a variety of computer applications, including Microsoft Suite, MS Project, SharePoint and/or other related project management tools
  • Willingness to travel (approximately 10-20%)


  • Advanced degree, with experience in healthcare and/or pharmaceutical industry and management consulting* Experience managing both internal and external resources (including remotely)* PMP, Six Sigma or other equivalent project management and/or process improvement advanced certification(s)* Experience with using Clarizen or other such project management software
  • Specialized training in product launch and commercialization
  • Past experience in cross-continent organization (e.g., Americas, Europe and Japan)
  • Demonstrated understanding or experience in commercial strategic and/or business planning and governance


Equal Opportunity Employer Minorities/Women/Protected Veterans/Disabled

Category Corporate Development