Do you want to be part of an inclusive team that works to develop innovative therapies for patients? Every day, we are driven to develop and deliver innovative and effective new medicines to patients and physicians. If you want to be part of this exciting work, you belong at Astellas!

Astellas Pharma Inc. is a pharmaceutical company conducting business in more than 70 countries around the world. We are committed to turning innovative science into medical solutions that bring value and hope to patients and their families. Keeping our focus on addressing unmet medical needs and conducting our business with ethics and integrity enables us to improve the health of people throughout the world. For more information on Astellas, please visit our website at .

Astellas is a Japan based global pharma company with the total sales revenue of JPY1,519B (FY22) and market cap of JPY3,470B (2023/3/28). We operate business in 70+ countries.

Astellas’ vision is to be at the forefront of healthcare change to turn innovative science into VALUE for patients. We are embarking upon an organization wide transformation to shift from a traditional pharma company into a cutting-edge, VALUE-driven life science innovator.

This position is based in Northbrook, Illinois. Remote work from certain states may be permitted in accordance with Astellas’ Responsible Flexibility Guidelines. Candidates interested in remote work are encouraged to apply.

Purpose and Scope:

It was announced on 27th April 2023 that Katsuyoshi Sugita, Chief People Officer and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer (CPO&CECO) was nominated as a new Representative Director candidate for the Board of Directors.

Due to this wonderful news, and the commitment needed in his new appointment, it is expected that he will need someone who can be the Head of HR. Therefore, we are looking for a Head of HR, that will report into the CPO&CECO.

The Head of HR is expected to elevate the global HR organization to the next level and transform the current HR organization to a world class business that operates effectively and efficiently with HR business partners, COE specialists, and HR Operations. This role will have the mandate to develop HR strategy and implement programs consistent with the company's vision, mission and values. The Head of HR will present specific HR measures and initiatives to the board and take an active part in executive team discussions, working closely with top management and senior leader across the organizations.

  • The Head of HR will report to the CPO&CECO (Chief People Officer & Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer). This role will be accountable to manage day-to-day operations and work closely with CPO&CECO in driving the organization and culture transformation for the company.

  • The Head of HR will directly manage all HR subdivisions and be responsible to lead a global HR organization (approx.410 colleagues) while driving multiple change initiatives to transform the current organization and build a more innovative culture. This position is a peer to Heads of Ethics & Compliance.

  • Location – We are open on the location but regular travel to Japan will be necessary.

Essential Job Responsibilities:

  • Act as the Global HR Head and HR Business Partner to the top management, formulate and execute global HR strategies, focusing on all aspects of the organization and people strategy including leadership development, succession planning, talent development/recruiting planning, performance management, engagement, total reward strategy, cultural integration, operational excellence and organizational development.

  • Participate, support and guide the senior management team in their execution of the business plan and continually update and advise the senior executives on human capital matters.

  • Develop and execute a full range of human resource programs across the organization globally.

  • Build a more collaborative culture to work effectively across regions to achieve the organization’s business and HR goals. Play a key role in both growing the top line and sustaining a profitable organization.

  • Ensure consistency and effectiveness of all human resource processes throughout operations with a focus on optimizing performance and improving competitiveness.

  • Drive the simplification and digitalization of HR programs and tools while maintaining quality services to the business.

  • Act as a company spokesperson on HR practices; demonstrate sophistication in dealing with both internal and external stakeholders. Be both a company and employee advocate, staying close to the employee base while keeping the best interests of the company in mind at all times.

  • Benchmark the company against “Best in Class” and bring forward appropriate competency adjustments to maintain a leading-edge innovative and competitive culture.

  • Assess and upgrade the HR operating model (structures, roles and capabilities, etc) to support the organization’s transformation and culture change.

  • Lead cross function stakeholders in managing critical employee risk matters and make decision collectively.

Quantitative Dimensions:

  • # of employees: All Astellas (about 15,000 employees)

  • Internal Key Stakeholders: Top management, Division Heads, Corporate Strategy, Finance, Sustainability, Corporate Advocacy

  • External Key Stakeholders: Investment community, HR community

Organizational Context:

  • The role will have 10 global direct reports and approximately 400 indirect global reports



Candidates considered for the Head of HR position will be seasoned HR professionals with a demonstrable track record of success and accomplishment in progressive world class organizations. The candidate must have a proactive style and a strategic sense that will allow him/her to develop credibility with the top management team and to become a business advisor, committed to personal excellence and accountability. The Head of HR will be a trusted advisor who will partner closely with the CPO&CECO and the Top Management team in strategizing and translating Astellas’ mission and goals into executable actions. In addition to strong business acumen, the Head of HR must be capable of suggesting and effectively introducing alternatives to current HR practices and will be proactive and agile in anticipating and developing both strategic and tactical HR plans and programs to accomplish the company’s business objectives and enhance its culture.

Other important requirements will include the following:

  • Bachelor's degree in HR, Business Administration, or a related field. A master's degree is preferred.

  • Demonstrated leadership capability and deep experience in HR leadership roles for a global company.

  • Demonstrated ability to understand the global business challenges in the complex environment and possessing a solid understanding of the financial impact of HR decisions and policies.

  • Demonstrated business acumen and customer focus capability; Being very practical and not too much conceptual.

  • Deep and broader knowledge of HR operating processes gained in a dynamic global organization with extensive cultural transformation experience.

  • Knowledgeable and experienced in all aspects of Strategic Business Partnering, Talent Management , Total Reward, Labor Union negotiation / Works Council management and capable to integrate all HR services to contribute to business growth.

  • Team-oriented leadership skills honed through experience in influencing and navigating senior management to a resolution with deep people and organizational insights.

  • Well-attuned to cultural dynamics so as to effectively influence both Japanese/non-Japanese executives.

  • Knowledgeable about Japanese culture and business practice to a certain degree.

  • A strategic, dynamic and innovative thinker who is passionate about healthcare and committed to driving the mission and social innovation.

  • Possess a blend of growth mindset, integrity, and collaboration skills.


  • Experience in global pharmaceutical business is preferred

  • Experience in a headquarter role in a global context is preferred


  • Medical, Dental and Vision Insurance

  • Generous Paid Time Off options, including Vacation, Sick time, plus national holidays including Heritage Days, and Summer and Winter Breaks

  • 401(k) match and annual company contribution

  • Company paid life insurance

  • Annual Corporate Bonus and Quarterly Sales Incentive for eligible positions

  • Long Term Incentive Plan for eligible positions

  • Referral bonus program


Category Human Resources

Astellas is committed to equality of opportunity in all aspects of employment.

EOE including Disability/Protected Veterans