Jim Ovia - Managing Director/CEO, Zenith Bank, Plc.

Jim Ovia

As CEO and Co-Founder of Zenith Bank Plc. in Lagos, Nigeria, Jim Ovia commands the largest company in West Africa. Since 1990, Jim Ovia and Zenith Bank Plc. have delivered the highest quality financial products and services to clients throughout Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Sierra Leone, and the U.K. and continue to develop new offerings in the financial marketplace. Under Jim Ovia’s stewardship, Zenith Bank Plc. has grown to include Zenith Insurance, Zenith Bank Securities, Zenith Pension Custodian, and more. With total assets of ?1.2 trillion, Zenith Bank Plc. and Jim Ovia maintain an annual net income of ?1.2 billion and revenues of ?89.2 billion for the company and its subsidiaries. Taking Zenith Bank Plc. public on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in July 2004, Jim Ovia fostered the next stage of development for his company, which holds a credit rating of AA- from Fitch Ratings. Jim Ovia came to his current position after 10 years in the financial sector as a manager and executive. Of Nigerian origin, Jim Ovia received his education at various universities in the United States. While an undergraduate at Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Jim Ovia majored in Business Administration, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in 1977. Jim Ovia immediately went on to pursue graduate studies in banking and finance at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he gained his M.B.A. in 1979. Fully profiting from his education, Jim Ovia launched his financial career upon receipt of his Master’s degree, which eventually led him back to Nigeria. Jim Ovia also holds advanced training from Harvard Business School’s Executive Management Program. To this day, Jim Ovia maintains a strong connection and interest in higher education in Nigeria. Drawing on his impressive work experience and pedagogical experiences in the U.S., Jim Ovia shares his wisdom as a member of the Governing Council at Lagos State University. Jim Ovia also holds a seat on the Board of Trustees at Redeemer’s University, is a proprietor of the forthcoming University of Information and Communication Technology, and was formerly a part of the board of American International School Lagos.


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