— Board Members

Luis Lopez
Non-Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors

As Non-Executive Chairman of the Board, Luis Lopez supports the leadership of Honoris to increase and widen transformative access to higher education across Africa. As the former CEO, Luis played a leading role in the launch and development of the pan-African network of private higher education institutions and its unique collaborative intelligence approach. As a passionate believer in Africa’s potential for human and economic development, his commitment to promote the fundamental values of Education for Impact has been instrumental in widening access to young students and working adults in the continent.

Lopez’s focus on digital, skilling and employability initiatives led to the establishment of the Honoris Academic Council, the Honoris Online Academy and the creation of a range of 21st Century learning environments such as the iLeadLAB makerspaces at the REGENT Business School, the iTeachLab at MANCOSA School of Education in South Africa, the Honoris Medical Simulation Center in Tunisia, and the incorporation of coding as a fundamental skill for all Honoris students.

His multinational career highlights include expertise in multi-speed and agile general management, high-growth strategies and business development across healthcare, banking, insurance & retirement services as well as post-secondary education. Significant achievements include building the leading regional networks for Laureate International Universities and for Aetna Inc. – jobs that preceded his time as an entrepreneur in an agri-business in the US.

Having built higher education networks in-country, regionally and internationally, Luis has a deep understanding of post-secondary education, especially in growth markets, and captures the aspiration of the students and their families for a better education to transform their lives.
He holds a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Rick Philips
Rick Philips
Partner, Private Equity – Head of Asia – Actis London Office

Rick joined Actis / CDC in 1993. He is head of Asia and serves on the Private Equity Investment Committee. He has 30 years of private equity experience, with 24 years investing in emerging markets.
From 1993 he lived for eight years in Sub Saharan Africa making private equity investments in Uganda and Zimbabwe. In 2001, he moved to South East Asia where he led deals including the investment in Unza, and its subsequent exit.
Rick relocated to Cairo in 2008 where he led investments in Egypt including leading bank CIB, Edita Food Industries, Integrated Diagnostics Holdings (“IDH”) and the creation of pan African payments platform EMP. Based in London from 2012 as Head of North Africa he led Actis’ investment drive into Honoris United Universities and Medis Pharmaceuticals.
Prior to joining Actis, Rick spent six years with 3i in the UK.
He holds a first class honours degree in Economics from University of Exeter.

Sherif Elkholy, Phd
Partner, Consumer – Actis Cairo Office

Sherif believes in the power of private equity to impact a country’s development goals. And at Actis, he considers himself one of the good guys. Our ethos of responsible investment, long-term commitment to growth markets and a track record of institutionalising family businesses all set us apart. It’s our culture as much as our financial support that Sherif feels makes Actis an attractive business partner.
Cairo-born Sherif has spent most of his life in Egypt apart from a period of time spent in London where he gained a Ph.D in economics and an MSc in finance and economic development at the University of London. He learnt his trade at EFG-Hermes Private Equity, investing in Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey and then switched to structured finance at HSBC. But his heart remained in private equity.
In 2004, Sherif joined Actis as an associate focusing on North Africa. Now a Partner, he has played various deal leadership, execution, investment management and exit roles across North Africa in Edita Food Industries, Honoris United Universities, El-Rashidi El-Mizan, Mo’men Group, Orascom Telecom Algeria, as well as his newly found interest in the power space where he has been leading Lekela Power’s push into Egypt.

Slah and Chedia Ben Turkia
Founders of Université Centrale, IMSET & Academy d’Art de Carthage (Tunisia), Founding partners of Honoris United Universities

Slah and Chedia Ben Turkia are the co-founders of Université Centrale Group recognized by the Tunisian State. Université Centrale Group is the largest private post secondary group in Tunisia including Université Centrale a leading private multi-disciplinary university, IMSET (Institut Maghrébin des Sciences Economiques et de Technologie) and Académie d’Art de Cathage, two leading technical and vocational institutes.

Slah and Chedia’s vast experience over 30 years ranges from industry management to teaching & training, development of training programs, and management of educational activities.
Slah Ben Turkia is the first CEO of Honoris United Universities, Chairman and CEO of Université Centrale Group, and Director of Studies at IMSET. Slah and Chedia as visionaries have implemented the foundations of the network and the initial steps of the regional expansion.

Slah Ben Turkia is a Mechanical Engineer and, along with his deep understanding of education and development programs, has gained a wealth of experience in governance, change management and restructuring initiatives. He is the founder and first Vice President of the National Federation of Private Higher Education and Scientific Research in Tunisia and the President of the private higher education union in the field of health.

Chedia Ben Turkia has a deep understanding of the aspirations of the students and their families and has worked for decades in meeting their needs for quality education that builds carriers. She had developed multiple partnerships to ensure students employability and access to higher education. She is the co-founder with Slah of Honoris United Universities and member of the board of Université Central Group.

Professor Yusuf Karodia
In Memoriam
Founder of MANCOSA and REGENT Business School, Southern Africa and founding partner of Honoris United Universities

Dynamic and inspirational, and the epitome of an entrepreneur, Pr Yusuf Karodia was an academic who dared to dream and whose vision has been realized through the establishment of the first private distance learning educational institutions in South Africa in the mid-1990s. With the emergence of MANCOSA and the REGENT Business School, thousands of disadvantaged individuals have been empowered through access to affordable quality higher education. Karodia’s wealth of experience of over 40 years in the higher education sector saw MANCOSA and REGENT Business School grow to become the leading providers of management education in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), spreading over 13 countries.
Known for his hands on management style and friendly disposition, Karodia has forged numerous links with educational institutions around the world. The Group’s flagship MBA programmes are possibly among the most sought after postgraduate management programmes in the SADC region.
Professor Yusuf Karodia was named African Person of the Year 2019 by African Leadership Magazine, in the category Development of Education. He received the award for his contribution to the advancement of education and the transmission of knowledge in Africa. During the ceremony, held on 29 February 2020 in Sandton, Johannesburg, he was named ‘The Greatest Visionary in Africa for the Development of Higher Education’, underscoring his commitment to developing education in Africa over the past four decades.
Professor Yusuf Mahomed Karodia passed away in December 2020 and his son Mohammed Karodia will act on his behalf in his capacity as an existing board member.

Lotfi El Eulj
Founder and Chairman of the Board of Mundiapolis University Morocco, founding partner of Honoris United Universities

Lotfi El Eulj, is the Founder and Chairman of the Board of Mundiapolis University Morocco, a top ranking private university in Morocco.
Mundiapolis was founded 20 years ago by Lotfi El Eulj and a group of business leaders with the aim of contributing to the development of qualified human resources to serve the development of the Moroccan Kingdom. It began as three institutes offering degrees in Business, Law and Engineering, and has since merged into a leading Moroccan university with some of the highest academic credentials in the region in 2009. Mundiapolis is a private multi-disciplinary university accredited by the Moroccan state.
Lotfi has a strong finance and strategy background being the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of El Eulj Group, a leading Moroccan group with activities in various structuring sectors such as food industry, agribusinesses, services, distribution and logistics, education and construction.

Karan Khemka
Independent Board Member, Honoris United Universities

Karan Khemka is a global expert on education with over 20 years’ experience as an investor and consultant in emerging markets. As an independent board member of Honoris United Universities, Karan brings increased diversity into the network, with an experience that enriches the student and academic outcomes. Karan is a distinguished speaker at international education summits and is particularly recognised for his expert insight on the importance of international education in a globalised economy.

Karan also founded the International Education Practice at The Parthenon Group (now EY-Parthenon), in addition to Parthenon in Asia. He has advised on $6 billion of deals and over 250 CXO level strategy engagements in the education sector across 40 countries and five continents, within every segment of education from pre-K to K-12 to higher education. He has also advised governments and NGOs on improving education outcomes around the world.