Astellas Pharma Director, Portfolio Relationship Management 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 a Director, Portfolio Relationship Management opportunity in Northbrook, IL.

Purpose & Scope:

The Director, Relationship Management is responsible for developing and leading/overseeing the implementation of strategies, negotiation efforts, procedures and processes for service provider relationship management for all outsourcing activities for Medical & Development (M&D), as well as for outsourcing initiatives for other functions as assigned. This strategic position also serves on the Portfolio Relationship and Sourcing Management (PRSM) leadership team, contributes to the development and implementation of PRSM objectives and 3 -- 5 year plan, Vision and Mission through collaboration with various executive levels in functions throughout M&D, and leads and mentors staff within the Relationship Management line.

This position is also responsible for contributing to and/or leading the development and implementation of strategic, enterprise/multi-functional and/or divisional level sourcing strategies, and the related and consequential governance or oversight activities stemming from vendor engagements across the Astellas environment. This role helps ensure that quality, compliance, and cost- effectiveness of work delivered via vendors providing services for M&D activities meet Astellas expectations through direct engagement with supplier senior and executive management on behalf of Astellas.

The primary focus of this role is on Relationship Management for identified areas of opportunity to successfully resolve and settle business related disputes and/or negotiations for services that are mostly beyond the transactional level, for leading and overseeing larger-scale sourcing initiatives on behalf of PRSM, and for the leadership and development of colleagues on the Relationship Management team.

Essential Job Responsibilities:


  • As part of PRSM LT, leads development and implementation of the vision, strategy, objectives and plans for vendor management within PRSM

  • Develops and executes the service provider management strategy in conjunction with PRSM LT and customers/stakeholders

  • Part of the PRSM LT and contributes to PRSM short and long term objectives and aspirations

  • Partners with PRSM LT and cross functional peers in driving M&D strategies forward

  • Identifies and develops, and/or leads the development of, future initiatives and process improvement opportunities

  • Leads and supports global collaboration efforts with M&D colleagues to align and execute Vendor Sourcing and Management strategies

  • Provides guidance and counsel to colleagues (Relationship Managers, customers, stakeholders) regarding potential risks and possible solutions in the engagement of vendors, and provides the same stakeholders with insights and intelligence on vendor trends and news to help drive informed and solid decisions

Relationship Management

  • Acts as the primary business relationship Point of Contact for senior management and/or executive level vendor contacts, and acts as the chief negotiator for issue resolution for escalations as agreed with vendors in the governance structure

  • Builds collaborative partnerships with assigned vendors and jointly develops strategies to continuously improve deliverable quality and drive cost effectiveness

  • Builds and maintains relationships with internal stakeholders and customers relative to vendor engagements and strategies across Astellas

  • Leads development of strategy for cost control and transparency with vendors

  • Collaborate effectively with internal stakeholders to develop business objectives and align and reach agreement on key performance and communication expectations for vendor engagements and the functional working relationship (reporting needs, escalation contact points and pathways, etc.),

  • Responsible as Alliance Lead for Strategic Partner(s)

  • Member of select Steering Committees for agreed governance structures for multiple service providers across Astellas entities and divisions. Responsible for ensuring effective communication between internal stakeholders and vendors.

  • Supports the PRSM brand by representing our interests and communicating our progress and successes to customers and stakeholders throughout Astellas through relationship establishment and management practices

Performance Management

  • Leads the finalization of Governance Structures for assigned vendors/categories/channels, etc. with vendors and customers

  • Leads and ensures that agreed governance occurs according to plan; ensures that agendas, actions, and notes are in order, and in collaboration with customers defines the outcome desired from governance efforts

  • Aligns with customers across Astellas to increase effectiveness and efficiency for assessment of vendor performance at the enterprise level, while also ensuring that specific customer needs and agreed expectations for performance reporting from vendors are met

  • Drives enterprise/ESC level cost and value analysis efforts with customers and stakeholders to support Astellas' position in negotiations and issue resolution efforts

  • Supports business customer needs for status reporting and information flow through engagement with vendors

  • Leads and oversees collaboration efforts between VM and customers/stakeholders to define success within the VM and governance space (levels of governance, primary goals of the relationship, targets for performance and/or financial results, etc.)

Vendor Selection and Contracting

  • Lead development of sourcing strategies for assigned functions/divisions, etc. and support as needed project level selection efforts with GCOLs, customers, and stakeholders

  • Lead selection efforts for sourcing strategies in assigned areas and ensure negotiation and execution of MSAs with vendors are completed within agreed timelines

  • Provide guidance and counsel, insights, and analysis for specific vendor proposals and contracts as requested

People Management and Development

  • Joint leadership of the Service Provider Management line within PRSM and has direct supervision of 2-6 individuals

  • Responsible for recruitment, development /career management and retention of staff

  • Coaches, develops and supports staff in providing best in class vendor management service to customers and stakeholders, and from assigned vendors/categories

  • Leads by example in the representation of Astellas' brand to strive for excellence in delivery and customer service expectations in Relationship Management for Exhibits and reinforces strong but centered leadership principles to staff with balanced guidance a centered and stable

  • Other duties as assigned

Quantitative Dimensions:

  • The Director oversees all assigned relationships with service providers on behalf of and across M&D to effect performance through the application of leverage and influence to meet Astellas expectations under contract and via the spirit of agreements, and align delivery and cost effectiveness goals globally to benefit all entities engaged with assigned suppliers

  • The portfolio of work consists of oversight of approximately 25 - 40 primary service providers across multiple functions and categories in M&D, supporting deliverables through service provider engagements for 70 clinical trials per year

  • The Director will oversee complex service provider engagements and relationship dynamics involving multiple Astellas regions, entities, and functions

Organizational Context:

PRSM partners with business units within M&D (Development, Medical Affairs, Pharmacovigilance, Regulatory Affairs, Quality Assurance, and Clinical Regulatory Quality Assurance) for acquiring clinical and medical services and goods.

This position reports to the Executive Director of PRSM. There are approximately 30 Astellas employees and 10 contractors in PRSM. The team operates from three locations: Tokyo, Japan (5 employees); Northbrook IL, USA (20 employees, 5 contractors), and Leiden, NL (5 employees, 5 contractors). PRSM delivers services through a sourcing team, a relationship management team, and an operations team.

This position has line management responsibility and has 5 direct reports.

  • This team has a key relationship with the Astellas Clinical, Medical and Legal organizations that operate in each Region.

  • This position will interface regularly with other vendor relationship managers and M&D Sr. Management to ensure continuity in approaches to managing service provider relationships.



  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent four-year degree required

  • Minimum of 12 years pharmaceutical industry experience (preferably in multiple phases and multiple roles)

  • Minimum of 5 years of experience in management position, preferably in pharmaceutical environment and in line and/or project management

  • Experience in at least some of the following: clinical development including site or service provider outsourcing and management, clinical contracting, clinical operations, business development,

  • Ability to prioritize multiple projects efficiently

  • Ability to quickly and consistently establish rapport to collaborate effectively with stakeholders, team members, and service providers

  • Ability to lead and champion change management and demonstrates the skill of influence without authority as part of a matrix organization

  • Knowledge and/or experience working with groups with varied cultural backgrounds and customs

  • Proven leadership skills

  • Excellent communication skills required (written, verbal, and presentation)

  • Excellent computer skills (MS Office Suite, specifically Excel and process mapping technologies)

  • Travel may be required (15 -- 30%)


  • Master's Degree in Business or Life Sciences

  • Understanding of ICH/GCP and training in functional specific drug development processes, clinical trial processes, project management methodology and change management methodology.

  • Experience in facilitating cross-functional teams.

  • Experience working at both clinical research organization and pharmaceutical companies


Equal Opportunity Employer Minorities/Women/Protected Veterans/Disabled

Category Budget & Control