Takeda's culture of "having the courage to embrace change" enables people to develop and challenge yourself. What has consistently been the foundation of my career development plan is a strong desire, similar to a personal mission, to enhance Japan's presence on the global stage and to become a “global talent”, a talent that can generate value anywhere in the world. As I grew up in a family that has been living and working abroad for generations, family conversation often included the perspective of “Japan’s position in the broader world”. In addition, when I lived abroad during my childhood, it was still the golden era of Japan, when there was even a university publication "Japan as No.1". I still remember, as a child, myself feeling proud of being Japanese. I think these childhood experiences had a great influence on my values and career development.
After years of working in the management consulting industry, I was looking for a position in a Japanese Manufacturer that is on its journey toward globalization, and I felt this was the perfect opportunity, when I got to know about Takeda. What made my mind was the statement "Takeda is a company that always has the courage to take a step forward to change".
Founded in 1781, Takeda can claim a history that stretches back more than 240 years. We have always taken on the challenge of innovating to realize our vision of contributing to better health and a brighter future for people around the world. Personally, Takeda has given me many opportunities to build my career.
If I were to name two challenges, the first was the R&D transformation; a corporate wide initiative to redesign the R&D organization to strengthen the capability to develop transformative treatments. The primary focus was to strengthen the core capability as a science driven pharmaceutical company, but this was obviously a huge challenge to redesign the organization and to drive complex projects that requires complex stakeholder and internal dynamics management, especially as there were no correct answers and diverse philosophies clash with each other.
The second was my recent assignment as Country Head – Iberia Oncology, managing the oncology business in Spain and Portugal. I was appointed right in the middle of COVID-19 crisis; hence I wasn’t even able to obtain the VISA to enter Spain upon my appointment. Managing a new team remotely from Switzerland, where the European Headquarter is, without having the opportunity to get to know the people was extremely challenging. I have experienced numerous challenges in my professional career so far, but persevering with the three principles below, enabled me to develop myself and to progress my career; (1) to not compromise with my dream, (2) to go all in toward the challenge in front of me and exceed the expectations, and (3) when in doubt, step forward, and choose the most challenging path.
The Oncology market in Japan is growing faster than the global market, due to various factors including the aging population of the country. Furthermore, if we look at Takeda’s Japan Oncology Business Unit (BU), we have the richest portfolio within the global organization. We have 6 products, well-balanced not only in terms of therapeutic area, but also in terms of lifecycle management. Maintaining sustainable growth in this fast-changing market is not easy. However, I envision a bright future where we can achieve sustainable growth and continue to bring transformative treatments to the patients if we can fully leverage our solid organization and executional excellence.
The most crucial mission is to continue to grow our business and organization to fulfill the Global Oncology BU’s vision, “We Aspire to Cure Cancer,” in Japan. To realize this, the most important thing is to invest in people development capabilities and to become an organization that continues to produce talents. Our mission, unfortunately, is not something that can be realized in a short term, hence the only path forward to establish a sustainable vehicle to pursue our mission is to develop people and to create a trusted organization.
Diversity is extremely important for sustainable growth in the rapidly changing pharmaceutical business. Takeda Japan has made significant progress in promoting the concept of DE\&I (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion), but there are still rooms for improvement.
Several skills are needed to maximize the value of diversity; (1) the ability to explain your common sense to others with different cultural background, and (2) the broad knowledge and deep insight to understand the values and common sense behind the words and behaviors of others.
Hence, I am committed to increase the diversity, especially in terms of thoughts and beliefs, within the Japan organization. I am believing that building a culture where everyone cares about each other – and at the same time feels comfortable to speak up and challenge each other — is critical to establish an organization that attracts the best people. In addition, overwhelming recognition, and the strong trust of our stakeholders in Japan are differentiated drivers we can leverage in this market. I am convinced that with our solid foundation of business, excellent people and organization, exceptional recognition and trusted relationships, the Japan Oncology BU will be able to become a sustainable vehicle that continues to contribute to cancer care and patients in Japan.
Building on the long history and heritage of Takeda, we will work together as a team to pursue our vision “We aspire to cure cancer”, under a diverse and global environment. We will be opening a new chapter in our Japan Oncology Business, and drive sustainable growth, to continue to bring transformative treatments to as many cancer patients as possible.
Satoshi heads the Oncology Business of Takeda in Japan, since September 2022. In 2016, he joined Takeda to lead the Japan R&D Transformation, and since then, he has taken on several commercial leadership roles. Most recently, he held the Country Head - Iberia Oncology role, managing the Spanish and Portuguese Oncology organization. Satoshi holds a Master of Engineering in Chemistry & Biotechnology from the University of Tokyo (Japan), and a Master of Business Administration from IMD Business School (Switzerland).