Retirement of President Firoz Rasul and the appointment of his successor​​

I am writing to advise that after serving for 15 years as the President of the Aga Khan University, Firoz Rasul has expressed his wish to retire in order to spend more time with his family in Canada.

Firoz has been an outstanding leader – during his tenure he has orchestrated tremendous progress and growth in all dimensions of our activities – academic breadth and quality, research, healthcare delivery, new and improved physical premises, the strengthening of our human capital, fundraising and financial capacity, introducing new technologies as well as cementing partnerships with numerous prestigious universities and institutions around the world. As a result, the University's reputation and renown have grown and become stronger. Firoz’s legacy will impact the University and the communities in which it operates positively for generations to come.

On behalf of the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees, I would like to express our deep gratitude and acknowledgement for Firoz’s tireless efforts and many contributions to AKU. I would also like to acknowledge the important role that Saida has played - not only as a key figure in all aspects of university life alongside Firoz - but also for the pivotal role she has played in the conceptualisation and implementation of programmes in dentistry at AKU and in fundraising for the university.

Throughout their 15-year tenure, Firoz and Saida have worked in a voluntary capacity; in addition to this they have been substantial financial donors to the University over the course of several decades. We thank them for this exceptional generosity.

We wish Firoz and Saida the best for their transition into a new phase in their lives. When the circumstances allow, we will hold a series of events in person to honour and recognise Firoz and Saida appropriately.

I am pleased to inform you that the Chancellor has appointed Sulaiman Shahabuddin as the next President of the Aga Khan University. Sulaiman will join the Board of Trustees when he takes up his position and the initial term of his appointment will be for three years.

Sulaiman joined AKU in Karachi 35 years ago and is currently the regional CEO of Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS) for East Africa and a member of the AKHS’s global senior management team. The early part of his career with AKU was in developing the purchasing function which he went on to lead for a number of years. While at AKU, Karachi, Sulaiman was involved in implementing nursing education programmes in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. He moved to East Africa 20 years ago and was seconded to and then joined AKHS. Sulaiman went on to serve as the CEO of the Aga Khan Hospitals in Nairobi, Mombasa and Dar es Salaam before being appointed Regional CEO for East Africa for AKHS in 2014.

Under Sulaiman’s leadership, AKHS in East Africa has introduced postgraduate medical education programmes in collaboration with AKU and mobilised over $150m of investment funding from international development institutions to improve and extend the network of 4 hospitals and 44 outreach and specialised health facilities it operates. The Aga Khan Hospitals in East Africa have also achieved accreditation by JCIA and Safe Care.  The AKHS network in East Africa treats over a million patients a year and has a staff of 2100 people. ​AKHS operates 14 hospitals and 375 other healthcare facilities globally and treats over six million patients a year. 

Sulaiman is the Co-Chair of the AKDN Health Network Purchasing Steering Committee and serves on the Board of Kampala Pharmaceutical Industries.  He is a member of a number of private sector and public-private sector CEO level bodies in Tanzania.

Sulaiman holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and an MBA from the University of Karachi as well as a Masters in Sustainable Development from the University of London.  He has been working towards a Doctorate in Health Administration which he expects to complete at the end of this year.

Sulaiman and his wife Zeenat will relocate back to Pakistan where he will be based.

We look forward to a smooth transition and expect that the handover from Firoz to Sulaiman will occur in September this year.

I hope you will all join me in wishing Firoz and Saida a long, happy and well deserved retirement and in welcoming Sulaiman back to AKU as its next President.

With my warm regards,​

Dr Haile Debas