Jim Ovia Biography: Age, State Of Origin, Career, Zenith Bank CEO, Wife, Children, Net Worth

Jim Ovia Biography

Jim Ovia Biography

Jim Ovia is a Nigerian businessman and the founder of Zenith Bank, one of the largest commercial banks in Nigeria. He is also a speaker, author, and philanthropist who inspires entrepreneurs and investors to dare to try for their dreams.

He has a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Louisiana, Monroe, and a B.Sc. degree in Business Administration from Southern University, Baton Rouge. He is also an alumnus of Harvard Business School.

He has received several awards and honors, including the Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR) from President Muhammadu Buhari in 2022.

He is  the founder and chairman of Mankind United to Support Total Education (MUSTE), a philanthropic organization focused on providing scholarships for the less privileged.

He also established the Youth Empowerment / ICT Foundation, which aims to enhance the socioeconomic well-being of Nigerian youths by encouraging and empowering them to adopt information and communication technology.

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He published his book Africa, Rise and Shine with ForbesBooks in 2018, which tells the story of his journey from a clerk to a founder of a multibillion-dollar bank.

Jim Ovia Age

Jim Ovia is 72 years old as of 2024.

Jim Ovia State Of Origin

Jim Ovia hails from Delta State, Nigeria.

Jim Ovia Early Life and Education

Jim Ovia was born on November 4, 1951, as the second son in the family of Obi Olihe of Agbor-Obi, in Agbor, Delta State. His father was a respected chief in the Agbor Kingdom, but he died of a heart attack when Jim was only four years old. His mother, a resilient and entrepreneurial woman, took up the responsibility of raising him and his siblings. She ran a small business of selling fabrics and textiles, and also engaged in farming and trading.

Jim Ovia had his primary education in Delta State, where he attended a local school. He showed great interest and aptitude in mathematics and science, and also participated in various extracurricular activities. He proceeded to Ika Grammar School, Bojiboji-Owa, for his secondary education, where he excelled academically and socially.

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He graduated in 1973, and secured a job as a clerk at Union Bank (formerly Barclays Bank). This was his first exposure to the banking industry, and he learned the basics of accounting, finance, and customer service.

In 1976, Jim Ovia left Nigeria for the United States of America, in pursuit of higher education and better opportunities. He enrolled at Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he studied Business Administration.

He graduated with a B.Sc. degree in 1977, and continued his education at the University of Louisiana, Monroe, Louisiana, where he obtained his master’s degree in Business Administration in 1979. He also became an alumnus of Harvard Business School, where he attended various executive programs.

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Jim Ovia Career Journey and Achievements

Jim Ovia Biography

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Jim Ovia is one of the most influential and successful entrepreneurs in Nigeria and Africa. He is the founder and chairman of Zenith Bank PLC, a leading financial institution in Nigeria and Africa.

Jim Ovia started his career as a clerk at Union Bank (formerly Barclays Bank) in 1973, after completing his secondary education. He worked there for three years, learning the basics of banking and finance. He then left Nigeria for the United States of America, where he pursued his higher education and obtained his B.Sc. and MBA degrees. He also worked as a computer operator at the defunct Baton Rouge Bank and Trust Company, where he gained valuable skills and experience in computer programming and operations.

In 1980, Jim Ovia returned to Nigeria and joined the International Merchant Bank of Nigeria, a subsidiary of First National Bank of Chicago, as a financial analyst. He rose through the ranks and became a branch manager in 1987.

He also joined the Nigeria Internet Group, a non-governmental organization that promoted the adoption and usage of the internet in Nigeria. He was one of the pioneers of internet banking in Nigeria, and he developed a software called Zenith X-Path, which enabled online real-time banking transactions.

In 1990, Jim Ovia founded Zenith Bank PLC, with a vision to create a customer-oriented and technology-driven bank that would provide world-class financial services to Nigerians and Africans. He started the bank with a capital of N20 million, and within 10 years, he grew it to a multibillion-naira bank with branches across Nigeria and Africa.

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Jim Ovia Biography

He also expanded the bank’s operations to Europe and Asia, and listed it on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange. He served as the CEO and managing director of the bank from 1990 to 2010, and then as the chairman from 2014 to date.

Jim Ovia is also the founder of Visafone Communications Limited, a mobile network operator that was established in 2007. He saw the opportunity and potential of the telecom industry in Nigeria, and he invested in building a network that would provide affordable and quality voice and data services to Nigerians.

He also leveraged his ICT expertise and passion to create innovative products and services, such as mobile banking, mobile money, and mobile education. He sold Visafone to MTN Nigeria in 2016, in a deal that was reported to be worth over $200 million.

Jim Ovia is also the chairman of Cyberspace Network Limited, a company that provides internet services and solutions to various sectors and industries in Nigeria. He is also the founder and chairman of Quantum Capital Partners Limited, an investment firm that focuses on private equity, venture capital, and infrastructure financing. He is also the chairman of Prudential Zenith Life Insurance Limited, a joint venture between Prudential PLC and Zenith Bank PLC, which offers life insurance products and services to Nigerians.

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Jim Ovia is also a philanthropist and author who is committed to empowering and uplifting his country and continent through education, technology, and entrepreneurship. He is the founder and chairman of Mankind United to Support Total Education (MUSTE), a philanthropic organization that provides scholarships for the less privileged. He is also the founder of the Youth Empowerment / ICT Foundation, which aims to improve the socioeconomic welfare of Nigerian youths by inspiring and motivating them to embrace ICT.

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Jim Ovia Wife and Children

Jim Ovia is married to Kay Ovia, who is the CEO of Quantum Markets Ltd. They have five children: Isioma, Zephia, Tito, Tomi, and Jesse.

Jim Ovia Net Worth

Jim Ovia’s estimated net worth is estimated to be around $620 million as of 2024.

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