News Releases

Astellas Names Linda Friedman General Counsel for Worldwide Legal Organization and Executive Committee Member
Astellas Americas Names Catherine Levitt Regional General Counsel for the Americas
Appoints Chieko Mori Vice President Corporate Development

NORTHBROOK, Ill., Feb. 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Astellas today announced the promotion of Linda Friedman as executive vice president, general counsel, with responsibility for the company's Legal organization worldwide, effective April 1, 2017. Friedman previously served as senior vice president and general counsel for Astellas Americas. She will become a member of the Executive Committee and will report to Astellas President and Chief Executive Officer Yoshihiko Hatanaka

"For nearly 24 years, Linda has played a formative role in the evolution of Astellas," said Hatanaka.  "Linda's role will help develop a new model for our Legal team, allowing us to better serve our global and regional business, while focusing on the needs of patients worldwide."

In 1993, Friedman joined Fujisawa (which merged with Yamanouchi in 2005 to create Astellas) as a corporate attorney and has since held positions of increasing responsibility. In 1998, Friedman was named senior corporate counsel and vice president, responsible for oversight of the legal function in the U.S. and subsequently the Americas region. Prior to joining Fujisawa, Friedman was chief corporate counsel at Chicago-based insurance agency, Associated Agencies, Inc.  Friedman graduated Magna Cum Laude and Bronze Tablet from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor's in social work. She earned her law degree from Northwestern University School of Law.

Friedman currently serves as a chairperson on the board of directors of the iBIO Institute. Friedman is also a member of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Law Section and former chair of the Law Section Executive Committee and a member of the Healthcare Business Women's Association (HBA). Friedman serves as a board member of Youth Build Lake County (YBLC), a not-for-profit organization providing educational and vocational services for youth in Lake County, Illinois.

Catherine Levitt will succeed Friedman in April 2017 as the Legal head for the Americas region. Levitt was named vice president, Legal, for Astellas US in March 2016, after serving as vice president of Risk Management and chief litigation counsel for Astellas US since 2013. Levitt joined Fujisawa in 2004 as assistant general counsel, specializing in litigation. After the formation of Astellas in 2005, she was promoted to associate general counsel, followed by deputy general counsel. Prior to Astellas, she served as corporate counsel at Baxter Healthcare and People's Energy, and began her career at the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP. Levitt earned her JD from the University of Illinois College of Law.

Chieko Mori will join Astellas Americas April 1, 2017, succeeding Yoko Saiki as vice president of Corporate Development for Astellas Americas, and will serve on the Management Committee. Saiki is returning to Astellas headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, where she will have strategic business management responsibilities in Astellas Japan Sales and Marketing. Mori joined Yamanouchi in 2002 and has held roles of increasing responsibility in product and portfolio strategy, as well as in Astellas' Pharmaceutical Research & Technology Labs. Mori is a licensed pharmacist and holds a master's in clinical pharmacy from the Tokyo University of Pharmacy and Life Sciences, Tokyo, Japan.

About Astellas
Astellas is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world through the provision of innovative and reliable pharmaceutical products. For more information on Astellas, please visit our website at You can also follow us on Twitter at @AstellasUS, Facebook at or LinkedIn at

For further information: Tarsis Lopez, Office: 224-205-8833, Cell: 847-224-8374,
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