The position of chief operating officer (COO) is relatively new to UCT. It was created to improve the efficiency of the university’s operations by having the COO oversee all the relevant responsibilities that had previously been distributed between four deputy vice-chancellors (DVCs): Finance, Information and Communication Technology Services, Properties and Services, and Human Resources. The executive directors of these departments will report directly to the COO.
Dr Reno Morar took up this position with effect from 1 February 2019.
Dr Morar’s experience and qualifications suit him for this position. His career includes 20 years of experience in policy development and implementation, operational management, monitoring and evaluation, people and human resource management, administration with non-governmental organisations, and in both private and public sectors. As Medical Director of the Clothing Industry Health Care Fund from November 1997 to December 2007, he developed an entire health system to serve 110 000 clothing workers and their dependants. This involved negotiating the interrelationships between factory owners, unions, workers and healthcare workers in the internal health system.
Dr Morar has been on staff at UCT since 2008 and has demonstrated a deep passion for learning and the academic project. He is currently Acting Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences. As Deputy Dean he engaged in very complex relationships, policies and processes between the university and the faculty, the faculty and the provincial and national departments of health, with other health science faculties, and between academic clinicians and the management establishment, among others. One of his significant achievements was leading the UCT faculty team in negotiations with the Department of Health in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape, resulting in successful bilateral or multilateral agreements on issues such as specialist and sub-specialist medical training.
He brings to the COO position a deep understanding of and commitment to the transformation of UCT, including experience in changing business processes to enhance a culture of service excellence, leading and managing change, and implementing organisational processes and systems that help create a more culturally diverse organisation in structure and composition for management and staff.
Dr Morar earned his MBChB at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 1988. At UCT he earned a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Management, Economics and Financial Planning (1995), and a Master of Medicine in Community Health (first-class pass). Since 1998 he has been a public health specialist and a registered Fellow of the College of Public Health Medicine of South Africa. He also completed a Certificate in Professional Coaching Practice at the Graduate Business School at Stellenbosch University in 2008.