Jim James Ovia (born November 4, 1951) is a Nigerian businessman. He founded Zenith Bank in 1990. He served as CEO until 2010, when he moved into the chairman role. He was the recipient of a Nigerian national honor. During two decades of leadership, he helped position the bank as one of the largest and most profitable in Africa. Jim Ovia is the founder of Visafone Communications Limited and the chairman of both the Nigerian Software Development Initiative (NSDI) and the National Information Technology Advisory Council (NITAC). He is a member of the Honorary International Investor Council as well as the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI). He is the Chairman of Cyberspace Network Limited. Jim Ovia holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Louisiana, Monroe, Louisiana, USA in 1979 and a B.Sc. degree in Business Administration from Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA (1977). He is also an Alumnus of Harvard Business School (OPM). He is a member of the Governing Council of Lagos State University, Lagos and 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 served on the board of American International School, Lagos [2001 -2003].
Jim Ovia headed numerous Non-Governmental Organisations [NGO] at various times including serving as 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 scholarships for the less privileged. He is 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 James Ovia is a philanthropist and chairman of the Jim Ovia Foundation. To date, over 1,500 students have been provided with university scholarships. The Jim Ovia Foundation also established the James Hope College in Agbor, his birthplace. In recognition of his achievements, particularly in support of the Nigerian Economy, Jim Ovia was conferred with the national award of Commander of the Order Of The Niger (CON) in 2011. Photo Credit: Getty