Executive Team


Prof. Elvis Cornerstone

Elvis Cornerstone is a Professor of Financial Economics with over 20 years’ experience in his specialised field. He is the President of the Institute and doubles up as President of Accra Business School.

Before his current role with the Institute of Economics and Finance, he was a full-time Professor at Swiss UMEF University, Geneva, Switzerland. During his term of office, he was also the Africa Regional Director and later, acted as the Director of Academic Affairs for the University’s campus in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Professor Cornerstone lectured previously on a full-time basis at Bangor University in the United Kingdom; the same university he obtained both his Masters and PhD qualifications. He has taught various undergraduate and postgraduate courses across Europe, Asia and Africa.

Prior to academia, Professor Cornerstone was a professional in development financing on the local and international fronts. He worked with various financial institutions including the African Development Bank in Tunisia. He has assessed and managed loan portfolio projects across various sectors and industries for quite a number of countries including Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Seychelles. 

Professor Cornerstone consults for international organisations, diplomatic missions, governments, and private sector institutions.


Ife Njoku

Ife Njoku is the Vice-President of the Institute and doubles up as Managing Director of Greenwich Asset Management Nigeria. He was previously the General Manager of Coronation Asset Management Nigeria. He is a former Managing Director of Access Bank Ghana and DR Congo with over 20 years’ banking experience.

Mr. Njoku started his banking career at GTBank Nigeria and UK where he garnered a total of 16 years banking experience working in many departments in the bank ranging from Retail, Commercial and Corporate Banking groups. He joined the Access Bank Group in 2012 and worked in the Corporate and Investment Banking group before his exploits as Country Managing Director of the bank in the DRC and Ghana subsidiaries respectively.

Mr Njoku has an MSc in Management from the University of Birmingham, UK. He is a fellow of the British Chevening Scholarship programme of the UK government and an alumnus of the Institute of Management Development IMD, Switzerland.

Asia Regional Director

Shaikha Al-Marri

Shaikha Al-Marri is an accomplished leader with experience in international relations, public policy, and strategic communication. She currently serves as the Deputy Director of the GCC Programme at the International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES). In this role, she focuses on fostering international cooperation and policy development within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region.

Shaikha has held significant positions, including serving as a Youth Advisor to the Minister of Sports and Youth in Qatar. Notably, she made history as the first Qatari to join the political department of the European Union Delegation to the State of Qatar. Her contributions in these roles have been marked by a commitment to advancing youth engagement and international diplomacy.

Her professional background includes experience as a graphic designer at the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority, where she utilized her research and strategic communication skills to create impactful visual designs. Alongside her role at IFIMES, she works as a digital business analysis researcher at Qatar’s Ministry of Communications and Technology.

She holds an MSc in International Public Policy from Queen Mary University of London and a certificate from HEC Paris’ leadership programme, augmenting her strategic and leadership capabilities.

Shaikha’s diverse background in political affairs, design, and leadership uniquely positions her to make significant contributions to the team.

Europe Regional Director

Pia Poppenreiter

Pia Poppenreiter is a visionary entrepreneur known for her innovative approach in the tech industry. She is the founder and CEO of Ohlala, a platform that leverages technology to facilitate instant paid dates, highlighting her ability to combine digital solutions with market needs.

Before founding Ohlala, Pia co-founded Peppr, another startup that showcased her talent for creating disruptive business models. Her leadership and strategic thinking have been instrumental in the success and growth of her ventures, earning her recognition in the entrepreneurial community.

In addition to her entrepreneurial achievements, Pia has been a prominent speaker at various international forums, including the Q-Summit, where she shares her insights on digital transformation and innovation. Her dynamic speaking engagements inspire young entrepreneurs and established professionals alike, reflecting her passion for fostering a culture of innovation.

Pia holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Management and Business from IMC Krems University of Applied Sciences, an M.A. in Business Ethics from Steinbeis University, and an Executive Master’s in International Relations and Global Politics from Swiss UMEF University.

Pia’s extensive experience in startup management, digital innovation, and strategic leadership significantly enhances the institute’s mission.