Jim Ovia is a Nigerian businessman who has been able to accumulate a lot of success and wealth for himself by championing superb solutions, particularly in the country’s financial system.
Also a motivational speaker and a writer, Jim is the Chairman of Zenith Bank PLC. Through his hard work and skills, he has been able to help the bank become one of the largest, nothing only in the country, but in Africa as a whole.
- Full Name: Jim Ovia
- Date of Birth: 4th, November, 1957
- Nationality: Nigerian
- Place of Birth: Agbor, Delta State
- Net Worth: $980 Million
Jim Ovia Biography And Early Career
He was born on the 4th of November, 1957 in Delta State, and he attended Ika Grammar School, Bojiboji-Owa for his secondary education before traveling to the United States to learn more. He is happily married to Kay Ovia.
While he was growing up, he was encouraged by his a family member to pursue a career in business administration, and the decision to yield to it made him who he is today.
Just like many others, Jim also started from scratch – as a clerk at Union Bank. It was after spending about three years with the bank that he traveled to America to obtain his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree.
Being a versatile person, Jim picked interest in computer science and information technology, and the young Jim worked as part- time computer operator at the defunct Baton Rouge Bank and Trust Company.
He returned to Nigerian to work for various banks in the country, where he was able to quietly gather reasonable experiences that helped him to where he currently is.
Jim Ovia Net Worth
His net worth is currently pegged at $980 Million. As at, 2015, it was said to be $550 million.
Zenith Bank PLC And Jim Ovia Entrepreneurial Journey
After the deregulation of the banking sector when former Nigerian Head of State Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida was still in power, he kicked off Zenith Bank and was able to steer the bank to the current enviable position it presently occupies. The bank is now regarded as the largest financial service provider in the country, and its provides a range of corporate investment, business and personal banking products and solutions.
Headquartered in Victoria Island (in Lagos State), the Bank now has over 500 branches and offices across Nigeria (including other subsidiaries in other African countries like Ghana, Sierra Leone, Gambia, and South Africa, as well as in China.)
It should also be noted that Zenith became a Public Limited Company in year 2001 and, in 2007, became the very first Nigerian bank in 25 years to be licensed by the UK Financial Services Authority.
So, this man, through hardworks, was able to transform Zenith Bank from a small commercial bank into a financial service conglomerate. Jim has become a role model to many other entrepreneurs, and his success in the financial industry is deserving of being studied.
Versatile Jim Ovia
Jim doesn’t think about the banking sector alone, but he has interest in other things. He established Cyberspace Network Limited – which was one of the pioneers of internet services in the country. The firm actually offers software services and network services (the likes of 4G LTE, CYBER MAX, and METRONET.)
Jim Ovia is also the one behind Visafone Communications Limited – wireless network provider founded in 2007. Although the firm was later bought by MTN, they have been able to have over 3 million subscribers.
We shouldn’t forget to mention that he is also a writer and motivational speaker. In 2018, he published his first book that was titled ‘ Africa Rise and Shine’.
Jim Ovia Philanthropy
The man knows the superb relevance of education, which was why he established Jim Ovia Foundation in 1998, a non-profit organisation in Nigeria.
Through the foundation, he seeks to invest in the Nigerian youth’s unlimited and untapped potential as the key to socio-economic growth. The Chairman is confident that investing in the youths will enhance the standard of living of the society and improve the Nigerian economy.
The Foundation he established has four arms, which are:
- The James Hope College
- – Jim Ovia Scholarship
- Jim Ovia ICT Entrepreneurs Programme
- Empower YOUth Program.
As things stand now, a lot of students have been provided with university scholarships. Additional, over 3,500 youngsters have been empowered by the foundation.
Appointments and Boards Where Jim Ovia Serves
– After his resignation as the CEO of the bank, he was made the Chairman, Boards of Directors and non-executive Director in 2014.
– He also chairs various boards including Nigerian Software Development Initiative (NSDI), National Information Technology Advisory Council (NITAC) and Quantum Markets Limited and Cyberspace Network Limited.
– Jim Ovia is also a member of the Governing Council of Lagos State University, Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) and National Economic Management Team of Nigeria.
– Additionally, he is a member of Honorary International Investor Council and Board of Trustees, Redeemer’s University for Nations, Lagos.
Jim Ovia Recognition and Awards
Jim Ovia’s hardworks haven’t been going unnoticed, as he has been able to receive various accolades for what he does, includes:
– Professional Leadership Award at Zik Awards (in 1999)
– Vanguard’s 20 Most Outstanding CEO’s in Corporate Nigeria (in 2002)
– Honorary Doctorate in Finance by Lagos State University (in 2005)
– CEO of the Year at ThisDay Award of Excellence (in 2008)
– Commander of Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (in 2011)
– Lifetime Achievement Award at Africans Banker Awards (in 2015)
– Forbes’ Africa’s 50 Richest (in 2015)
– Africa’s Business Leader at Africa American Institute Awards (in 2017)