Jim Ovia (born November 4, 1951) is a Nigerian businessman who founded Zenith Bank in 1990. After gaining degrees at both Southern University and University of Louisiana at Monroe, he attended Harvard Business School. He served as CEO until 2010, when he transferred into the chairman role. He has been the recipient of a Nigerian national honor.
Jim Ovia is the Founder of Zenith Bank Plc where he retired as pioneer Group Managing Director / Chief Executive Officer 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 is a member of the Governing Council of Lagos State University, Lagos and also a member of the Board of Trustees, Redeemer’s University For Nations, Lagos. He was a member of the Governing Council of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (1999 – 2007) and also served on the board of American International School, Lagos [2001 -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). 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).