UL alumnus Jim Ovia recently stepped down as Managing Director & CEO of Zenith Bank of Nigeria, a company he co-founded in 1990.  Under his guidance, Zenith became the largest bank in West Africa, with 4,000 employees and offices across Nigeria as well as in Gambia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. 

He also created the Jim Ovia Foundation, designed to raise digital awareness among Nigerian youths in secondary schools.

Notable honors for Zenith Bank:

  • 2007 African Bank of the Year - African Investor magazine
  • 2007 Quoted Company of the Year - Nigerian Stock Exchange
  • 2007 Socially Responsible Bank of the Year - African Banker magazine
  • 2005 Most Respected Bank in Nigeria - PriceWaterhouseCoopers
  • 2005 Bank of the Year - The Banker magazine

Ovia is also the Chairman of the Nigeria Software Development Initiative and Chairman, National Information Technology Advisory Committee. He is a member of the Governing Council, Nigerian Investment Promotion Council and also a member of the Honorary International Investor Council.

Ovia sits on the Governing Council of Lagos State University, Lagos and also a member of the Board of Trustees, Redeemer’s University For Nations, Lagos. He is the proprietor of the proposed University of Information and Communication Technology, Agbor, Delta State; he served on the board of American International School, Lagos.  He also headed various Non-Governmental Organisations at various times including being the first President of the Nigeria Internet Group and served as a member of the Tsunami Disaster Relief Committee and co-ordinator Nigerians United To Save Niger Republic.

Ovia is also 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 Medical Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers etc. He is additionally the founder of the ICT Foundation for Youth Empowerment, which focuses on improving the socio-economic welfare of Nigerian Youths by inspiring and motivating them to embrace Information and Communication Technology. The initiative holds annual Youth Empowerment conferences, and at the 10th anniversary conference, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan credited the initiative with helping Nigeria achieve its 2020 goal of ranking among the world's largest economies.

Ovia earned his MBA from the University of Louisiana in 1979.  According to Encomium magazine, his net worth is $2.3 billion.


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