It’s nearly impossible to make a list of the top 10 banks in Nigeria and leave out Zenith Bank. Zenith Bank didn’t just become an outstanding bank on a platter of gold, it required the persistent hard work of its founder – Jim Ovia. Jim Ovia is now a respected voice in the finance and banking sector of Nigeria. He is often regarded as the Godfather of banking in Nigeria. He also has footprints in other sectors of the country including IT. His expertise and intelligence have earned him fame and wealth. Jim Ovia’s net worth runs into millions of dollars, hence he lives in well-furnished houses and can afford any luxury car of his choice. 

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Jim Ovia Profile

Jim Ovia Profile
Jim Ovia Profile
Full NameJim James Ovia CON
Age69 years old in 2021
State of OriginDelta
State of residenceLagos
Marital statusMarried
OccupationBusinessman and a writer.

Jim Ovia Early Life

Jim Ovia grew up in Nigeria where he had his primary and secondary school education in  Ika Grammar School, BojiBoji-Owa, Agbor in Delta State, before he travelled out of the country for higher studies. He was born on November 4th, 1951 in Agbor, Ika South local government area of Delta State, Nigeria. Jim Ovia’s father is the Obi Olihe of Agbor-Obi and is also one of the most highly placed chiefs in the Agbor Kingdom, Delta State.

Jim Ovia Early Life
Jim Ovia Early Life

In 1977, Jim Ovia moved to the United States and attended Southern University Louisiana, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Moving onward, he clinched a Master’s degree in Business Administration in 1979 from North NorthEast Louisiana University, He attended the Harvard Business School for a program in Executive Management. 

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Jim Ovia Career


Jim Ovia had a rich working history in the banking sector prior to his move to start Zenith Bank.

  • In 1973, he began his career as a clerk at Barclays Bank, now called Union Bank.
  • In 1983, he became the Senior Manager at International Merchant Bank under the agreement of First National Bank of Chicago where he was a Financial Analyst. 
  • Between 1987 and 1990, he led the Corporate Finance Department of the Merchant Bank of Africa under the technical supervision of Bank of America. 
  • He also worked with Baton Rouge Bank and Trust Company as a part-time computer operator.

With this robust knowledge and expertise in the financial and banking sector, we can say Jim Ovia was sufficiently armed with the exposure and connections needed to start and build his own bank. He founded Zenith Bank in 1990. He served as the Chief Executive Officer until his retirement in 2010. Jim Ovia was able to build Zenith bank to be one of the most profitable, largest and leading banks in Nigeria and Africa. The bank also has operations in other countries including Sierra Leone, Ghana, South Africa, the Gambia and the United Kingdom.

Jim Ovia Outside The Banking Sector

Jim Ovia is a multifaceted man. His expertise goes beyond just the banking sector. He has served in other top categories in other sectors such as;

  • a member of the Governing Council of Lagos State University and a member of the Board of Trustees, Redeemer’s University For Nations, Lagos. 
  • He was also formerly a member of the Governing Council of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission from 1999 up to 2007. 
  • He also served on the board of American International School, Lagos from 2001 to 2003. 
  • He is also the Proprietor of the University of Information and Communication Technology, Delta State.

Jim Ovia Philanthropy

Jim Ovia runs a number of philanthropic organizations with the aim of giving back to society and helping humanity. He is the founder and chairman of Mankind United to Support Total Education (MUSTE) with the aim of providing scholarships to the less privileged ones.

He is also the founder of the Youth Empowerment and ICT Foundation. The aim of this Foundation is to inspire and motivate the Nigerian youth to embrace Information and communication technology to improve their socio-economic welfare. 

Jim Ovia is also a book author. In 2018, he authored a book titled, Africa Rise and Shine: How a Nigerian Entrepreneur from Humble Beginnings Grew a Business to $16 Billion. 

Jim Ovia Awards

Jim Ovia Awards
Jim Ovia Awards

Expertise and talent rarely go unrewarded or unrecognized. Below is a list of awards won by Jim Ovia;

  • The Most Respected Bank in Nigeria by Price Water House Coopers in 2005
  • Bank of the Year by The Banker Magazine in 2005
  • Zenith Bank was named the most security friendly and conscious bank in Nigeria for 2005.
  • It was ranked the Fourth biggest bank in Nigeria by the Central Bank of Nigeria in 2005.
  • The bank was also awarded the African Bank of the Year in 2007 by African Investor Magazine.
  • The bank was named Quoted Company of the Year by the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 2007.
  • Socially Responsible Bank of the Year awarded by African Banker Magazine.
  • The bank also won the Web-Jurist award conducted by the website rating arm of Phillips Consulting.
  • Nigerian National Awards such as; Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) and Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON).

Jim Ovia Net Worth

His net worth is estimated at $980 million, which is approximately 490 Billion NGN.

Jim Ovia Family

Jim Ovia Family
Jim Ovia Family

Jim Ovia is married to the love of his life, Kay Ovia who is the Chief Executive Officer at Quantum Markets Ltd. together they have five children named  Isioma, Zephia, Tito, Tomi, and Jesse.

Jim Ovia Cars

Jim Ovia exercises restraint in making public his personal possessions, especially cars. From his luxurious fleet of cars, he has been seen in a Rolls Royce Phantom and Mercedes Benz G-Wagon.

Rolls Royce Phantom

Jim Ovia rolls royce phantom
Jim Ovia rolls Royce phantom

The Rolls Royce Phantom is a car only the wealthy can afford. Everything about the Rolls Royce Phantom depicts sophistication and luxury. A massive 563-hp twin-turbo V-12 coupled with an eight-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive delivers massive power to the Phantom. This vehicle costs about 176 million NGN.

Mercedes Benz G-Wagon

Jim Ovia Mercedes Benz G-Wagon
Jim Ovia Mercedes Benz G-Wagon

The G-Wagon is a luxury SUV made by the German automaker, Mercedes Benz. The SUV boasts of highly upscale interior and exterior design, sufficient cargo space, high ground clearance and many other inspiring features. The price of the G-Wagon varies depending on the additional features the owner decides to add. Generally, the price ranges between 70 million to 150 million NGN.

Jim Ovia Armoured Lexus GX 460

Jim Ovia armoured Lexus  LX 570
Jim Ovia armoured Lexus LX 570

Zenith bank boss is a proud owner of an armoured Lexus LX 570, This Jim Ovia armoured Lexus LX 570 is refinement and technology best describe this vehicle. It combines the brute strength of a massive V8 5.7L engine with the grace of a six-speed sequential-shift transmission providing 383 horsepower. It comes with features like all-wheel drive, crawl control, multi-terrain select and active height control which makes it a tech geek as well as trendy. The armoured LX 570 becomes a dream come true for those whose lives are at stake, giving it all-around 360-degree protection and a full package of safety features specially built by INKAS®.

Toyota Hilux

The new Toyota Hilux is bolder looking and more powerful than before. It has a redesigned front end that’s more angular and striking than that of the previous Hilux, and the ninth-generation model can be had with a 2.8-litre diesel engine, making it capable of completing the 0-62mph sprint in 10.0sec.

Jim Ovia House

Jim Ovia House
Jim Ovia House

Jim Ovia has landed properties in different parts of the world. It is said that he has a house in Lagos.

Jim Ovia is also the owner of a 15-storey office complex valued at about N4bn.  The gargantuan building called The Civic Center Towers was constructed by G Cappa. It’s on Ozumba Mbadiwe Road, Victoria Island, Lagos. 

He also recently acquired three units of luxury apartments at 4, Bourdillon, an iconic residential complex in the heart of Ikoyi, Lagos. The property is targeted at meeting the housing needs of Nigerian elites and celebrities. It has lush greenery, water bodies, swimming pools, a tennis court, a gym and a clubhouse with ample underground parking and breathtaking views.

Tony Elumelu Net Worth, Biography, Cars, And House
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