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Driving strategy, culture, and transformation

About Astellas

Astellas Pharma Canada is the Canadian branch of a Japanese pharmaceutical company. The company was formed in 2005 when Yamanouchi Pharmaceuticals merged with Fujisawa Pharmaceutical, which already had a Canadian branch. Since the merger, Astellas Pharma Canada has introduced new products and continues to build its pipeline. The company has about 110 employees in Canada and a total of 17,000 employees globally. 

Strategic business challenges

Astellas Pharma Canada was facing multiple strategic inflection points: market and industry disruption, a need to drive accelerated growth and transform its business model, changing customer expectations, and talent challenges.

Primary challenge

The pharmaceutical industry has been changing rapidly over the past several years, and the COVID-19 pandemic significantly accelerated the pace of that change. During the pandemic, Astellas Pharma Canada went through a couple of rounds of downsizing and restructured its organization in order to navigate those changes and meet the industry demands. Today, with several new products set to launch over the next 18 months, they face the additional challenge of scaling up for this expected growth.

They also face a fundamentally different business environment post-COVID, unlike anything the organization has dealt with before. Total healthcare spending has fallen post-pandemic, and physicians are booked back-to-back with in-person and digital appointments, making it harder to break through and get their attention in traditional face-to-face meetings. Specialty treatments for rare conditions are the new competitive frontier, and Astellas is transforming itself to specialize in these cutting-edge therapies and compete in this dynamic market in order to bring value to patients. 

Leadership Goals

"In order for us to be successful moving forward, we can't rely on how we've operated up to date. We've got to change and evolve."
Frank Stramaglia
General Manager

How they did it

Astellas began with an acknowledgement that the organization needed to significantly transform the way it operated in order to thrive in the future. LCI worked with them to design and implement a program to make that change happen.


Define expectations and what was needed


Align leaders and teams to those expectations


Embed the mindset and behaviors into daily routines and organizational practices

Strong leadership cultures drive higher engagement

Employee engagement jumped from 60% to 81% in less than a year.


Engagement in the Canadian operation is now 11 points higher than engagement across the entire global organization. 

"Don't underestimate how fast you can shift culture in employee engagement with dedicated focus and effort. You can move the needle quite quickly.
Frank Stramaglia
General Manager

Additional Results

Strong leadership cultures drive performance

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Astellas Pharma Canada grew its business by 15% in less than a year. That’s the second-highest rate of growth among all global Astellas affiliates.

3 new products

18 months

With its new leadership culture well established and embedded throughout the organization, Astellas Pharma Canada is ready to grow.

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