Jim James Ovia is a Nigerian businessman, a native of Agbor in Delta State. He founded Zenith Bank in 1990.
Jim Ovia holds a master's degree in Business Administration from the University of Louisiana, Monroe, Louisiana, USA in 1979 and a B.Sc. degree in Business Administration from Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA (1977). He is also an Alumnus of Harvard Business School (OPM)
He is the founder of Zenith Bank Plc, Nigeria's tier-1 bank and one of the most profitable financial institutions in Nigeria until 2010, when he moved into the chairman role. He was the recipient of a Nigerian national honor.
During two decades of leadership, he helped position the bank as one of the largest and most profitable in Africa.
Ovia is the founder of Visafone Communications Limited and the chairman of both the Nigerian Software Development Initiative (NSDI) and the 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 is the Chairman of Cyberspace Network Limited. He was awarded an honorary doctorate degree in the 50th convocation ceremony of the University of Lagos
In September 2018, Ovia announced the publication of his book Africa, Rise and Shine published with ForbesBooks.
He is a member of the Governing Council of Lagos State University, Lagos and a member of the Board of Trustees, Redeemer's University For Nations, Lagos. He was a member of the Governing Council of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (1999 – 2007) and served on the board of American International School, Lagos [2001 -2003].
Ovia headed numerous NGO's at various times including serving as the first President of the Nigeria Internet Group (2001-2003). He is the founder and Chairman of Mankind United to Support Total Education (MUSTE), a philanthropic organization focused on providing scholarships for the less privileged. He is the founder of the Youth Empowerment / ICT Foundation, which focuses on improving the socioeconomic welfare of Nigerian youths by inspiring and motivating them to embrace Information and communication technology.