​​Kyowa Kirin Appoints Pharma Industry Leader Steve Schaefer ​as President, North America to Manage Next Phase of Growth

Schaefer Comes to Kyowa Kirin from Takeda where he served as Senior Vice President, Neuroscience Business Unit and Head of Commercial Operations, U.S. Business Unit

Bedminster, New Jersey – April 11, 2023— Kyowa Kirin, Inc., an affiliate of Kyowa Kirin Co., Ltd. (Kyowa Kirin, TSE: 4151), a global specialty pharmaceutical company based in Japan, is announcing the appointment of Steve Schaefer as President, North America, effective today, April 11. Mr. Schaefer joins Kyowa Kirin North America (KKNA) after holding key leadership roles at top pharmaceutical companies, including Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly and Company.

“My passion to improve patient lives coincides seamlessly with Kyowa Kirin as they are known for advancing breakthrough medicines with novel mechanisms of action, and I’m committed to accelerating this innovation,” said Mr. Schaefer. “I look forward to working with the talented employees across research, development, commercialization, and our business partners to expand the impact of Kyowa Kirin’s innovative therapies and value for patients across North America.”

Mr. Schaefer brings more than 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and a consistent record of accomplishments as a senior executive across multiple therapeutic areas. In his most recent role as Senior Vice President, Neuroscience Business Unit and Head of U.S. Commercial Operations, Mr. Schaefer was responsible for a commercial portfolio of specialty medicines delivering multi-billion dollar annual revenues as well as commercial data and advanced analytics, forecasting, sales and marketing operations, and corporate training and leadership development. Prior to Takeda, Mr. Schaefer held roles with Eli Lilly and Company in marketing, sales and general management.

Mr. Schaefer succeeds Gary Zieziula, who is retiring. Mr. Zieziula assumed the role as President, North America in April 2020, and led the company through a period of tremendous growth and change. Mr. Zieziula is returning to the North America Board of Directors where he will continue to advise and help facilitate a smooth transition.

“I’ve enjoyed serving as President over the last three years and am immensely proud of the progress we made bringing in new talent, integrating our North American operations, and adding important capabilities to better serve the needs of patients and providers,” said Mr. Zieziula. “Mr. Schaefer’s deep leadership experience makes him well-suited to take the company to new heights and realize our ambition of having a profound impact on patients’ lives. I look forward to working alongside him as a board member, to further strengthen and grow the organization.”

KKNA is the fastest growing region in Kyowa Kirin’s global footprint. The region markets first-in-class medicines in three therapeutic areas: Neurology, Oncology and Rare Disease. With nearly 600 employees in the U.S. and Canada, KKNA now represents over a quarter of Kyowa Kirin’s global revenues.

“Under Gary’s leadership, KKNA has made great progress managing the successful growth of three commercial franchises and fostering a strong business culture,” said Masashi Miyamoto, President and CEO, Kyowa Kirin Co., Ltd. “We believe Steve’s leadership experience and passion for fostering cross-functional, patient-focused innovation will fuel our continued success. I’m excited to work with Steve and our entire leadership team to ensure a seamless transition.”

Mr. Schaefer is a decorated veteran, serving as Captain, in the United States Marine Corps, and continues to be a strong advocate of veterans’ causes. He holds a BA in economics from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and an MBA from LaSalle University, Philadelphia.

About Kyowa Kirin

Kyowa Kirin strives to create and deliver novel medicines with life-changing value. As a Japan-based Global Specialty Pharmaceutical Company with a more than 70-year heritage, we apply cutting-edge science including expertise in antibody research and engineering, to address the needs of patients and society across multiple therapeutic areas including Nephrology, Oncology, Immunology/Allergy and Neurology. Across our four regions – Japan, Asia Pacific, North America, and EMEA/International – we focus on our purpose to make people smile, and are united by our shared values of commitment to life, teamwork/Wa, innovation, and integrity. You can learn more about Kyowa Kirin North America at: https://kkna.kyowakirin.com or https://www.linkedin.com/company/kyowa-kirin-inc.--u.s./.

Fraud Alert

Contact Us


Contact Form

  • For questions related to our products, please use the links provided under Our Medicines.

By clicking the Send button, you authorize Kyowa Kirin, Inc., its affiliates, subsidiaries, and third-party agents to contact you by mail and/or email to provide information on products, programs, services, and disease-state information and/or utilize your information for market research or analytics. Kyowa Kirin, Inc., its affiliates, subsidiaries, and third-party agents will not utilize or distribute your personal information outside the above terms of consent.

Are you visiting this site from Canada? If so, consider visiting our Canadian site. It's designed to bring you up-to-date content.


Click "Leave Page" to visit the Kyowa Kirin Canada site.

Or click “OK” to stay on the Kyowa Kirin US site.

Option to close the window