Jim Ovia is a Nigerian businessman who founded Zenith Bank in 1990 and the recipient of a Nigerian National Honor. An alumnus of the Southern University, the University of Louisiana and the Harvard Business school, he served as the bank’s CEO until 2010,when he transferred into the chairman role after two decades of meritorious leadership which positioned the bank as one of the largest and most profitable banks in Africa. As an accomplished banker with over three decades experience, he introduced a great deal of innovations into the Nigerian banking industry.
Jim Ovia was also the Founder of Visafone Communications Limited, the Chairman of the Nigerian Software Development Initiative (NSDI) and also Chairman, National Information Technology Advisory Council (NITAC). A member of the Honorary International Investor Council as well as the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), he is also the Chairman of Cyberspace Network Limited.
Jim Ovia is a member of the Governing Council of Lagos State University Lagos, a member of the Board of Trustees, Redeemer’s University For Nations, Lagos and was a member of the Governing Council of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission from 1999 to 2007. He also served on the board of American International School, Lagos between 2001 and 2003.
Jim Ovia is a noted philanthropist and has headed numerous Non-Governmental Organisations [NGO] at various times including being the first President of the Nigeria Internet Group (2001-2003). His foundation, Jim Ovia foundation has awarded shorlaships to over 1,500 nigerians. He is the founder and Chairman of Mankind United to Support Total Education (MUSTE), a philanthropic organization focused on providing scholarship for the less privileged, of which some of the beneficiaries are now qualified professionals in diverse fields. He is also the founder of the Youth Empowerment / ICT Foundation, which focuses on improving the socio-economic welfare of Nigerian youths by inspiring and motivating them to embrace Information and communication technology.
Jim Ovia holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Louisiana, USA in 1979 and a B.Sc degree in Business Administration from Southern University, Louisiana, USA (1977). He is also an Alumnus of Harvard Business School (OPM).