Jim Ovia is a prominent Nigerian businessman and most notably known as the founder of Nigeria’s first tier bank, Zenith bank. He is a philanthropist and support many NGOs.
He is also the founder of the powerful organization, Visafone communication limited. He is very successful and wealthy. In this article we let you into the facts about Jim’s biography and net worth.
Jim Ovia Profile
- Full Name: Jim James Ovia CON.
- Age: 69 years old
- Nationality: Nigerian
- State of Origin: Delta
- State of residence: Lagos
- Marital status: Married
- Occupation: Businessman and a writer.
Jim Ovia Age
Jim was born on the 4th November, 1951. Jim Ovia is originally from Agbor, Delta State. He is the second male child of his family.Jim Ovia was brought up in a highly respected family.
Jim Ovia’s father is the Obi Olihe of Agbor-Obi and is also one of the most highly placed chiefs in Agbor Kingdom, Delta State.
Jim Ovia Education
Jim Ovia went to Ika Grammar School, BojiBoji-Owa, Agbor in Delta State. Jim Ovia studied Business Administration from Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA and graduated in 1977.
After his undergraduate studies, Ovia obtained a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Louisiana, Monroe, Louisiana, USA in 1979.
Jim Ovia is also an Alumnus of the prestigious Harvard Business School.
Jim Ovia Career
Jim Ovia started his career as a clerk at Barclays Bank (now Union bank) immediately after his secondary education in 1973. He worked there for three years before embarking on his tertiary education.
Jim being a man of ICT, worked part-time as a computer operator at defunct company ‘Baton Rouge Bank and Trust Company’ during his undergraduate years.
Jim came back to Nigeria and served at Union Bank during his service year. After his service year, he worked at Lion Bank and finally became the branch manager.
Jim Ovia left to worked at International Merchant Bank (IMB), as a financial analyst and was promoted to the rank of the bank manager.
Jim Ovia expanded his coast as he left IMB to work at Merchant Bank of Africa, where he left his foot print on. In the late 1980’s, after the deregulation of banking sectors during Babagida’s administration in Nigeria, he together with some investors, set up Zenith Bank in 1990.
Jim Ovia was in charge of the affairs of Zenith Bank for 20 years. During his tenure, the bank grew and became Public Limited Company in 2001. Jim’s effort kept showing up as the bank was enlisted on Nigerian Stock Exchange and London Stock Exchange.
In April 27, 2007, Zenith Bank became the first bank to be licenced by United kingdom Financial Services in 25 years. This led to the Zenith Bank UK Limited. Zenith bank headquarters is located at Victoria Island, Lagos and has other 500 branches all over Nigeria.
Jim took the coast of Zenith Bank to many African countries such as Sierra Leone, Gambia, South Africa, China and Ghana. After all the successes and the peaks, Jim Ovia resigned in July 2010 but was reappointed as the bank’s chairman in 2014.
Jim Ovia being a man of ICT, founded Cyberspace Network Limited in 1995. This was Nigeria’s first internet services. This company also provided softwares services such as METRONET and others.
Jim Ovia in 2007, founded a wireless communication known as Visafone Communication Limited. This company was used by 3 million Nigerians, but was later bought by MTN in 2015.
In 2018, Jim wrote a book titled ‘Africa Rise and Shine’. This book contains all the details of his journey to success and financial freedom. The book was published by Forbes Books South California.
Jim Ovia is also a philanthropist and owns the Jim Ovia Foundation. This foundation mission is to help Nigerian youths to tap into their potential.
His foundation is subdivided into four sectors, The James Hope College, Jim Ovia Scholarship, Jim Ovia ICT Entrepreneurs Programme and Empowerment Youth Program. Jim Ovia was appointed as the chairman of Nigerian Software Development Initiative (NSDI).
After a while he was appointed as the chairman National Information Technology Advisory Council (NIATC), Quatum Markets Limited and Cyberspace Network Limited.
Jim Ovia being a man of outstanding excellence, was chosen as an Honorary member of the International Investor Council and Board of Trustees, Redeemers University For Nations, Lagos.
Jim Ovia is also a member of National Economic Management Team of Nigeria and Governing Council of Lagos State University, Digital Bridge Institute.
Jim Ovia Relationship
Jim Ovia is married to Kay Ovia. His wife is the CEO of Quantum Market Limited and founder of Star Rising Talent Hunt for kids and young adults. Jim and Kay union is blessed with two children.
Jim Ovia Achievement
- Jim Ovia in 1999 received the Professional Leadership Award at the Zik Awards.
In 2002, Vanguard ranked him as the 20th Most Outstanding CEO’s in corporate Nigeria.
- Jim Ovia in 2005 received an Honorary Doctorate in Finance by Lagos State University.
- In 2008, Jim received the CEO of the Year at ThisDay Award of excellence.
In 2011, Jim received the honour of Commander of Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
- In 2015, Jim Ovia received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the African Banker Awards.
- In 2015, Jim Ovia was ranked the 50th richest man by Forbes Africa.
Jim Ovia Net Worth
Jim Ovia is one of the wealthiest men in Nigeria with an estimated net worth of $980 million.