Jim Ovia Biography

Jim Ovia is an entrepreneur and businessperson who founded 5 companies, including: Zenith Bank Plc, The Quantum Group, Inc. and Visafone Communications Ltd. and who has been the head of 7 different companies. Presently, he holds the position of Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc (which he founded in 1990), Chairman at Zenith Bank (UK) Ltd. (a subsidiary of Zenith Bank Plc), Chairman at Nigeria Software Development Initiative and Chairman for Zenith General Insurance Co. Ltd. Mr. Ovia is also Member of Honorary International Investors Council and Member-Governing Council at Lagos State University and on the board of 8 other companies.

Jim Ovia, (CFR) is the founder and chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, one of Africa’s largest banks with over $24 billion in assets and shareholders’ funds of over US$3 billion as at June, 2022.  

Zenith Bank is a global brand listed on the London Stock Exchange and the Nigerian Stock Exchange. In addition to major operations in Nigeria and other West African countries, the Bank has sizeable operations in London and Dubai. 

He is an accomplished entrepreneur and author of the highly-rated Forbes published book, Africa Rise and Shine. With thousands of copies sold, Africa Rise and Shine details the secrets of success in doing business in Africa and Zenith Bank’s meteoric rise.

Jim Ovia Foundation & Scholarship 

Jim Ovia’s passion for humanity has motivated his involvement in numerous philanthropic endeavours. Through the Jim Ovia Foundation, he has shown the importance he accords good education. Through his philanthropy, he has shown the importance he accords good education.  

In support of the Nigerian youth, Jim Ovia Foundation offers scholarships to indigent students through the Mankind United to Support Total Education (MUSTE) initiative. Most of the beneficiaries of Jim Ovia Foundation scholarship are now accountants, business administrators, lawyers, engineers, doctors etc.

He is the founder and Chancellor of James Hope University, located in Lekki, Lagos, which was approved by the National Universities Commission (NUC) to offer postgraduate courses in business management, science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

He is an alumnus of the Harvard Business School (OPM), University of Louisiana (MBA), and Southern University, Louisiana, (B.Sc. Business Administration).

Jim Ovia is a member of the World Economic Forum Community of Chairpersons; and a Co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Africa Regional Business Council.

In the past Jim Ovia occupied the position of Co-Chairman of The Quantum Group, Inc. (he founded the company), Chairman at Visafone Communications Ltd., which has 3 million subscribers (he founded the company in 2007), President for Nigeria Internet Group and Member of Disasters Emergency Committee.

Jim Ovia received an MBA from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and an undergraduate degree from Southern University & A&M College.

He is the author of “Africa Rise And Shine”, published by ForbesBooks. The book which encapsulates Zenith Bank’s meteoric rise, details the secrets of success in doing business in Africa. 

According to Forbes, Jim Ovia occupies the position of the 37th richest man in Nigeria, having an estimated Net worth of $550 million.

Awards and Recognition.

Jim Ovia’s contribution to the Nigerian economy has been recognized by successive governments; he was conferred with the national awards of Member Federal Republic (MFR, 2000) and Commander of the Order of Niger (CON, 2011). He is an alumnus of Harvard Business School (OPM), University of Louisiana (MBA) and Southern University, Louisiana (B.Sc).

In October 2022, a Nigerian national honour of Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR) was conferred on him by President Muhammadu Buhari.