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Billionaire Businessman JIM OVIA Full Biography

FULL NAME:       Jim Ovia
DATE OF BIRTH: 
November 4, 1951
OCCUPATION:     Bussinessman
NET WORTH:     $850million(2015)
MARITAL STATUS:  Married

INTRODUCTION

 
Jim Ovia is a Nigerian billionaire businessman who founded Zenith Bank in 1990. After gaining degrees at both Southern University and University of Louisiana at Monroe, he attended Harvard Business School. He was rated among the top 10 richest in Nigeria 2015.

EARLY LIFE AND BACKGROUND

 

Born November 4, 1951 at Agbor, Delta State, Jim Ovia attended Southern
University Louisiana, where he obtained a B.Sc in Business
Administration in 1977 and North East Louisiana University, where he
obtained a Masters Degree in Business Administration in 1979, both in
United States of America. He is also an Alumnus of Harvard Business
School (Executive Management Program).

He serves as the Pioneer President of Nigeria Internet group (NIG). He
has over 23 years of Bank experience. He was a Co-Founder of Zenith Bank
plc and served as its Group Managing Director and Chief Executive
Officer from 1990 to July 10, 2010. He joined IMB as a Financial Analyst
in 1980 and moved to the management centre in 1987. He headed the
Corporate Finance department of Merchant Bank of Africa from 1987 to
1990. His interest in computers was picked in 1977 when he worked as a
part-time Computer Operator at Baton Rouge & Trust Company,
Louisiana. Mr. Ovia has been the Chairman of the Board and Non Executive
Director of Zenith Bank plc since June 16, 2014 and June 12, 2014
respectively. He serves as the Chairman of Quantum Luxury Properties
Limited. He serves as a Director of Africa Finance Corporation. He
served as a Director of Zenith Bank Plc., until July 31, 2010. He served
as a Director at Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc. He is a
motivational Speaker and an avid ICT person. He is a holder the Member
of the Order of Federal Republic (MFR). He holds a B.Sc. degree in
Business Administration from the Southern University, Louisiana, U.S.A.
(1977), a Masters degree in Business Administration from University of
Louisiana, USA. in 1979, and is an alumnus of Harvard Business School
“OPM”, Boston, U.S.A.


Speaking On How Things Were When They Started ZENITH Bank:
“When we started Zenith in 1990, it was extremely difficult as the
necessary resources and infrastructure to do business, particularly
banking, were not in place. There were no ATMs, no mobile phones and ICT
was a rarely known concept in the business space,” he says.


“When, in 1990, banking licenses were being issued, indigenous
private individuals were being offered the opportunity to set up
financial institutions, Prior to that, you either needed to be a foreign
global financial institution, or a federal or state government
institution, to own or set up a bank in Nigeria. Businesses and
entrepreneurs could not possibly get these licenses because of the
prerequisites attached. It was perceived then, that Nigeria did not have
the technical expertise to run or manage banks.”

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It is an intuition that has driven Ovia through life as an
entrepreneur. Choices came early for the young Ovia, who grew up one of
many children in a large family in Akbor in Nigeria’s Delta State. As a
young man, Ovia pondered what to study. He was encouraged by his uncles,
who had run successful businesses, to pursue a qualification in
business administration. To this day, for most Nigerian families,
business administration, alongside medicine, law, accounting and
engineering are the keys to success. Ovia went for it and enrolled for a
degree in business administration at Southern University, Louisiana, in
the States.

“It so happened that halfway through my studies, my keen interest in
computer science and information technology was heightened… I couldn’t
help it and decided to incorporate computer science into my program. One
of my uncles advised me against this, as he reckoned that it was an
immature industry at that point. Business administration was the way
forward,” he says.


Ovia carried on regardless of avuncular warnings.

“Like any young man, I was full of hopes… (there were) tremendous
opportunities in the future. It wasn’t so much what you studied but what
you did with the knowledge that mattered.”
He says.

CAREER AND LIFE

 

Needless to say, Jim Ovia co-founded Zenith Bank Plc in 1990 from which
he retired as pioneer Group Managing Director / Chief Executive Officer
in 2010 after two decades of laudable leadership which positioned the
bank as one of the largest and most profitable banks in Africa. As an
accomplished banker with over three decades of experience, he introduced
a great deal of innovations into the Nigerian banking industry. CEO Jim
Ovia built the bank from the ground up, gaining widespread recognition
from colleagues and competitors alike. He oversaw its expansion in
Nigeria and beyond, setting up branches in Sierra Leona, Ghana, South
Africa, the Gambia and the United Kingdom. In July 2004, Jim Ovia
successfully orchestrated the initial public offering of Zenith Bank
Plc. on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. The same year, Zenith Bank Plc.
earned a strong, long-term credit score of AA- from Fitch Ratings.Needless to say, Jim Ovia co-founded Zenith Bank Plc in 1990 from which
he retired as pioneer Group Managing Director / Chief Executive Officer
in 2010 after two decades of laudable leadership which positioned the
bank as one of the largest and most profitable banks in Africa. As an
accomplished banker with over three decades of experience, he introduced
a great deal of innovations into the Nigerian banking industry. CEO Jim
Ovia built the bank from the ground up, gaining widespread recognition
from colleagues and competitors alike. He oversaw its expansion in
Nigeria and beyond, setting up branches in Sierra Leona, Ghana, South
Africa, the Gambia and the United Kingdom. In July 2004, Jim Ovia
successfully orchestrated the initial public offering of Zenith Bank
Plc. on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. The same year, Zenith Bank Plc.
earned a strong, long-term credit score of AA- from Fitch Ratings.

Zenith Bank, spurred by Jim Ovia’s knowledge of Computer Technology
became the first bank in Nigeria to introduce the online-real time
system, which enabled the entire grid of branch offices to be networked
through IT technology. He also ensured that through their Corporate
Social Responsibility team, they made an impact in the lives of the
communities in which they existed.
His
climb to the zenith started as a banking Clerk at Barclays Bank, DCO,
now Union Bank in 1973. In 1980 he joined the International Merchant
Bank (IMB) under the technical agreement of First National Bank of
Chicago as a Financial Analyst and rose to Senior Manager position in
1987. Jim Ovia headed the Corporate Finance
Department of Merchant Bank of Africa, under the technical management
of Bank of America from 1987 to 1990. He had previously gained
 experience in the use of computers in 1977 when he worked as a
part-time computer operator at Baton Rouge Bank and Trust Company,
Louisiana hence his interest in IT [I think]. Jim Ovia founded 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. He is the
Chairman of the Nigerian Software Development Initiative (NSDI) and also
Chairman, 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 was also the pioneer President of
the Nigeria Internet Group. Jim Ovia is also the Proprietor of the
University of Information and Communication Technology, Delta State. So
now you see what I mean about his interest in IT. Oh! I almost forgot!
Jim Ovia is the Promoter and Founder of Visafone Communications Limited,
a mobile telecoms Company.
A renowned
motivational Speaker, Jim Ovia has been conferred with a National
Honour by a Nigerian President, and a Zik Award for Professional
Leadership. He bagged the Business Day’s Award for the top 10 bankers in
Nigeria and was among Vanguard’s 20 most outstanding CEO’s in corporate
Nigeria in 2002.

In pursuit of his philanthropic metiers, he founded the ‘Mankind United to Support Total Education (MUSTE)’, a humanitarian Organization dedicated to funding the indigent with educational grants. He who washes his hands will dine
with kings indeed. Jim Ovia has washed in the pool of excellence,
innovation and integrity and has been invited to dine with the high and
mighty. A member of the Governing Council, Nigerian Investment Promotion
Council (NIPC), member of the Governing Council of Lagos State
University  and also a member of the Board of Trustees, Redeemer’s
University for Nations, Lagos. He serves as a Director of Africa Finance
Corporation and has headed various Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO)
at various times. He was also appointed Chairman of the Committee on
“Nigeria Polio-Immunisation Action Group”. The committee in
collaboration with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation seeks to
eradicate the scourge of the dreaded polio disease in Nigeria.
An
author, Jim Ovia is not resting on his oars but has invested in other
interests including chairing Quantum Luxury Properties Ltd which
recently signed a multi-billion naira deal with the global hotel group,
Marriott. The development will see the establishment of a 150- room five
star hotel on the Ozumba Mbadiwe Waterfront, which is currently home to
Radisson Blu and Oriental Hotel. Jim Ovia said at the signing ceremony,
We identified a gap in the marketplace within the
hospitality industry, to support the burgeoning sectors. Nigeria is well
known for its hospitality, and Lagos as a mega-city deserves world
class facility to complement its status.”
The Lagos
Marriott Hotel is to launch in 2014 and will boast all the facilities
and luxury associated with an international market leader like Marriott.

So there we have it; Jim Ovia is on top of his game! When one door closes, look down the corridor-several others might be swinging wide open!

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https://i2.wp.com/encomium.ng/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Dr.Cosmos-Maduka-With-Jim-Ovia-Wife.jpg?w=667
Jim and wife with Cosmos Maduka

SOURCES: bloomberg.com, sunnewsonline.com, konnectafrica.net

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