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Head of Business, Strategy & Operations

AstraZeneca UK

Location: Cheshire East

Job Type: Full time


Head of Business, Strategy & Operations

At AstraZeneca we’re dedicated to being a Great Place to Work. Where you are empowered to push the boundaries of science and unleash your entrepreneurial spirit. There’s no better place to make a difference to medicine, patients, and society. An expansive culture that champions diversity and collaboration. Always committed to lifelong learning, growth and development.

Join the team where everyone feels a personal connection to the people that we impact. From our science labs to manufacturing at scale, we are committed to delivering at the highest quality. It’s inspiring and rewarding work, influencing every part of the product lifecycle to deliver life-changing medicines. To ultimately make people’s lives better – from patients and their families to all of us in society!

Innovation Strategy & External Liaison (IS&EL) is a central science and technology-based research and innovation function in Pharmaceutical Technology & Development (PT&D) that works with all the functions in PT&D and across SET areas, notably R&D and manufacturing organisations in Operations.

We are driven by science, technology and collaboration excellence and work across a suite of scientific tools, from Newtonian physics through to generative AI.

IS&EL’s main responsibility stems from the long-term need for innovations that meet grand challenges for the benefit of our people, our portfolio, our planet, and our patients.

The innovation activities originate from opportunities identified both by PT&D colleagues and by IS&EL through internal and external scouting and are delivered through external collaborations.

One example of a major current activity is centered around productivity and knowledge transformation – the PT&D Holistic Digital Twin. This is a multi-year activity in collaboration with R&D, Operations, and IT, as well as world-leading external partners.

Another main innovation program targets Environmental Sustainability and the breakthrough technologies needed to enable future manufacturing of medicines with low-carbon footprints, a need driven both by our business 2030 and 2045 carbon reduction targets.

The Head of Business, Strategy & Operations (BS&O) manages a team of business development, insight, systems & communication specialists, and the role interacts closely with all other members of IS&EL’s leadership team. One such important relationship is with the Science & Innovation (S&I) unit, particularly in relation to the innovation project portfolio, where the main responsibility for the latter phases of the innovation project process lies with the BS&O unit.


  • Line management & development of the BS&O unit

  • Responsible for active BS&O resource management to support all IS&EL innovation activities

  • Responsible for IS&EL scorecard development & metrics tracking and for providing business process performance & impact data as required

  • Responsible for development of the PT&D’s Science & Innovation A3 as a pillar of PT&D’s strategy

  • Contributes to proposal pre-evaluation checks & prioritisation together with the IS&EL Executive Director and the Head of S&I Leads

  • Responsible for late stage innovation project scheduling and resourcing, for planning and securing of decisions, and ensures delivery of NPV valuation at implementation decision and post-implementation

  • Ensures business and portfolio information and decisions (within scope for the role) are appropriately recorded, secured, available and transparent for internal stakeholders, and that appropriate systems for handling this information are in place and managed

  • Supports the Executive Director IS&EL with critical business forward planning processes (RBU, MTP, BRM)

  • Ensures the Innovation Portfolio is visible & notable developments are actively communicated

  • Responsible for management of ISEL’s Functional budget, including collaborations budget management, finance reporting, budget planning & phasing updates

  • Ensures delivery of Strategic Insight and development of the agreed Insight model

Essential skills & experience:

  • A solid, extensive background in the pharmaceutical industry with significant experience of pivotal drug discovery, development or manufacturing experience, including portfolio and project management

  • Ability to drive prioritization of high-value, high-impact research and/or innovation opportunities

  • This role demands a transformative leader, one who not only guides with vision and purpose but also ignites passion, ensuring each member is enthusiastic to contribute their best

  • A profound ability to actively listen, ensuring every team member feels valued and understood. Employ reflective practices to continuously improve and inspire, fostering an environment where individuals are motivated and eager to excel daily

  • High emotional intelligence supporting excellent team working and networking skills

  • Effective decision maker and communicates with conviction and inspiration at all levels

So, what’s next

Are you interested in joining our team? Good, because we can’t wait to hear from you!

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AstraZeneca embraces diversity and equality of opportunity. We are committed to building an inclusive and diverse team representing all backgrounds, with as wide a range of perspectives as possible, and harnessing industry-leading skills. We believe that the more inclusive we are, the better our work will be. We welcome and consider applications to join our team from all qualified candidates, regardless of their characteristics. We comply with all applicable laws and regulations on non-discrimination in employment (and recruitment), as well as work authorization and employment eligibility verification requirements.