Honoris United Universities appoints Luis Lopez as non-executive Chairman and introduces Dr. Jonathan Louw as its new CEO

Dr. Jonathan Louw, CEO, Honoris United Universities

Press Office: Honoris United Universities

  • As Honoris’ Education for Impact mission scales and the network’s expansion accelerates across the continent, these appointments strengthen the organisation’s agility and strategic focus on future-ready, world-class human talent in Africa.

Honoris United Universities, the first and largest pan-African network of private higher education institutions, today announced two significant enhancements to its senior leadership as the organisation expands across Africa, with Luis Lopez moving from CEO to the role of Non-Executive Chairman of the Board and the appointment of Dr. Jonathan Louw as CEO from January 1, 2021.

Dr. Jonathan Louw, MB. ChB, MBA, joins Honoris from the South African National Blood Service (SANBS), where he served as CEO of the organisation across 185 sites and 2,700 staff. During his three-year tenure at SANBS, Dr. Louw oversaw the entire value chain of blood donation, testing and logistics through transfusion to patients across South Africa and succeeded in driving revenue growth of 17%. Additionally, he spearheaded innovation through the initiation of the organisation’s first ever drone project, which transports life-saving blood products to patients in rural areas while also implementing convalescent plasma trials for the treatment of COVID-19. Previously, he served in various leadership roles in private equity, across healthcare and pharmaceuticals, and was the CEO of JSE listed Adcock Ingram for many years. Dr. Louw began his career in medicine in 1993 as a practicing doctor following the completion of his studies for an MB. ChB from the University of Cape Town, where he also holds an MBA.

Commenting on his new role as CEO of Honoris, Dr. Louw said, “Honoris has an extraordinary pan-African education model that is transforming learners across the continent now and into the future through the focus on Education for Impact. I am excited to bring my experience to the Honoris team and assist them in identifying new areas of expansion and innovation for the network. I look forward to working with the management team, the board alongside Luis Lopez and the shareholders, as we embark on this very exciting new chapter for Honoris United Universities.” Luis Lopez took on the role of CEO in 2017, playing a defining role in establishing Honoris United Universities as the leading pan-African post-secondary private education network. His commitment to promoting the fundamental values of Education for Impact has been instrumental in widening access to young and working adults across the continent.

During this period, he has built exceptional teams across the continent with a shared belief in the advancement of the network’s unique collaborative intelligence approach.

Lopez was responsible for the expansion of Honoris’ footprint across Africa, growing at several multiples since inception, and for establishing the network’s resilient model of accessible, quality and innovative education from Casablanca to Cape Town, and from Abuja to Tunis. Commenting on this, Rick Phillips, Honoris board member and Actis partner (the controlling shareholder) said, “I would like to thank Luis for the significant milestones accomplished over the last three years. Looking ahead to the next chapter of Honoris’ journey, we will continue to work closely with Luis in his capacity as Non-Executive Chairman to the Board of Directors. This continuity will allow us to reinforce and build upon the successes of the pioneering Honoris founders whose collective expertise and vision have transformed higher education in Africa.”

Lopez’ focus on digital, skilling and employability initiatives led to the establishment of the Honoris Academic Council, 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, and the incorporation of coding as a fundamental skill for all Honoris students.

The healthcare sector advanced significantly during Lopez’s time as CEO with the addition of Tunisia’s leading health sciences education Group UPSAT to the network in 2018, contributing to establishing Tunisia as a regional hub of excellence for health education in Africa. Lopez was also fundamental in building the cutting-edge purpose-built Medical Simulation Centre in the heart of Tunis, which was recently accredited by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSIH) – the world’s largest healthcare simulation accreditation body; and the advancement of STEM education capabilities across Francophone Africa by welcoming the Esprit Group into the network in December 2020.

Lopez also implemented the network’s first global HR policy with the rollout of the Honoris Global Code of Conduct (CoC) and a new Ethics Hotline for the entire platform, accessible to staff and students. Commenting on his time as CEO and his new role as Non-Executive Chairman of the Board, Luis Lopez said, “Serving as CEO of Honoris has been extremely rewarding personally and professionally. In working with exceptional individuals and teams, holding steady to our values of collaborative intelligence, mobility, and agility, we have succeeded in our goal to establish Honoris as a pioneering and trusted education leader in Africa. I look forward to working alongside our Board of Directors in providing continuity and reassurance to Honoris’ strategy development, planning and operational direction. This is an incredibly exciting time to be at Honoris as we welcome Dr. Jonathan Louw as the new CEO. I wish him and the teams continued success and will support them on their strong mission of purpose-guided leadership in education for Africa’s future.”

Under Lopez’ stewardship, Honoris welcomed its first West African institution with Nile University of Nigeria in July 2020, adding to its pedagogical capabilities in health education. Today Honoris network consists of 14 institutions in 10 countries and 32 cities with 57,000 students, amassing significant expertise in contact, distance and online education.