University of Law chief executive departs after less than two years in job

The University of Law’s chief executive has stepped down from his role just one month after its private equity owners sold the institution to education conglomerate Global University Systems (GUS).

John Latham joined the university as provost in September 2013, billed as the man who would extend the University of Law’s reach into global markets.

He was formerly vice president for international business development at Laureate Education, a network of private universities spanning 30 countries. Previously, he had worked as chief operation officer at the University of Liverpool, establishing the institution’s online business and its Chinese university, XJTLU.

The sale of the university by Montagu Private Equity to GUS for an undisclosed sum shocked the market, coming just three years after Montagu purchased the university.

A spokesperson from the University of Law (ULaw) said: “The University of Law confirms that John Latham (president and CEO) will be leaving the University by mutual consent.

“David Johnston (currently our COO) has been appointed chief executive officer and professor Andrea Nollent (currently our provost) has been appointed provost and chief academic officer (both with effective from 1st August 2015).

“John will continue to head up the GUS/ULaw Strategic Options Review and has been appointed as an adviser to our chairman. He will continue to advise our board on regulatory matters in that capacity.

“We wish to record our thanks and appreciation to John for his excellent service to the university.”

Since his arrival, which came just 18 months after the University of Law, formerly a charity, was sold to Montagu Private Equity, the university has partnered with the East China University of Political Science and Law (ECUPL) to allow students to study at both institutions and launched an “articled apprenticeship” programme for school leavers, which allows candidates to qualify as solicitors in six years.

In addition, the university is launching a business school, which will take students from next month, designed to give it greater commercial nous.

However the university has lost a number of key clients since its sale to Montagu Private Equity. Allen & Overy, Baker & McKenzie, Clifford Chance, DAC Beachcroft, DWF, Osborne Clarke and Walker Morris have all opted for ULaw’s rival BPP.

Linklaters is now the only magic circle firm to send its prospective trainees to the university, signing a five-year bespoke contract in February.