Jim Ovia - Zenith Bank MD (1990 - 2010)

List of Zenith Bank MDs Since Inception Till Date

How much do you know of Zenith Bank Nigeria Plc? Have you ever stumbled on the list of MDs that has led the bank since inception to date? Well, not to worry if you have not because that is why I am here. Today, I will be sharing with you a chronological list of all the Zenith Bank Managing Directors (MDs) since inception till date. So if you need to know who was an MD of Zenith bank at any point in the bank’s history this list of Zenith Bank MDs since inception will be a good guide for you.

Brief History of Zenith Bank

Zenith Bank is one of the leading tier 1 banks in Nigeria. The bank was founded in 1990 by Jim Ovia. The foundation of the bank is one of the most technologically inclined bank in Nigeria. In fact it is on record that the bank s the first bank in Nigeria to own a functional website when it first launched its first website in 1995.

The bank has a tradition and succession strategy of grooming leaders from within. So since inception the bank has never gone out to recruit an MD from outside. In fact all the MDs they have had till date either started their career in Zenith Bank or has been with the bank for a good number of years.

Frequently Asked Questions

Jim Ovia is the founder of Zenith Bank

Zenith Bank was founded in 1990 by jim Ovia

The first MD of Zenith Bank is Jim Ovia. He served from 1990 to 2010

Jim Ovia served as the MD of Zenith Bank for 20 years (1990 to 2010)

The current Chairman of Zenith bank is Jim Ovia. He assumed the position of chairman in 2014, four years after stepping down as the MD

The current MD of Zenith Bank is Ebenezer Onyeagwu. He took over from Peter Amangbo in 2019

The MD of Zenith Bank from 2014 to 2019 is Peter Amangbo. He took over from Godwin Emefiele after the later was appointed as Governor of CBN in June 2014

Godwin Emefiele was the MD of Zenith Bank from 2010 to 2014. His tenure ended with his appointment as the Governor of CBN.

1. The Pioneer MD of Zenith Bank – Mr. Jim Ovia

Jim Ovia - Zenith Bank MD (1990 - 2010)
Jim Ovia – Zenith Bank MD (1990 – 2010)

In the list of Zenith Bank MDs since inception Jim Ovia is the undoubted number one. He is the visioner and founder of Zenith Bank. Of course after the formation of the bank he automatically became the first Managing Director of the bank.

His Background

Jim Ovia is a native of Agbor, Delta State, Nigeria. He was born on November 4, 1951. But he was just four years old, when his father suffered a massive heart attack and died several weeks later due to inadequate medical facilities.

He attended Ika Grammar School, Bojiboji-Owa for his secondary education, before going to Lagos to join his elder brother. He didn’t immediately gain admission into the university after his secondary education. Instead Jim started his banking career in 1973 as a clerk at Union Bank, (formerly Barclays Bank).

He worked for 3 years as a bank clerk before moving to USA for his tertiary education.He obtained his B.sc in Business Administration in Southern University, Louisiana in 1977. And thereafter his M.sc in Business Administration from University of Louisiana in 1979. He is also an alumnus of Lagos Business School.

While studying for a degree in business administration, Jim Ovia developed a keen interest in computer science and information technology. He was so serious to the point that he decided to incorporate it into his program.

After his programme in the US he returned to Nigeria and rejoined Union Bank of Nigeria for his National Youth Service Corps.

Jim later joined Merchant Bank of Africa in 1987 as Head of Corporate Finance Department. That is where he worked till 1990 when he left to set up Zenith Bank.

His Tenure as Zenith Bank MD: 1990 – August 2010

Jim Ovia resumed as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) of Zenith Bank as the founder and pioneer MD and served till August 2010. That is 20 years of great and visionary leadership.

Where is Jim Ovia Today?

Of all the Zenith Bank MDs that there will ever be, he will continue to maintain a special status. And that didn’t waste time in playing out. Four years after Jim resigned as CEO of Zenith Bank PLC, he was appointed as the Chairman, Boards of Directors and non-executive Director in June 2014.

Jim Ovia also chairs a number of boards including Nigerian Software Development Initiative (NSDI), National Information Technology Advisory Council (NITAC) and Quantum Markets Limited and Cyberspace Network Limited.

He is a member of the Governing Council of Lagos State University, Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) and National Economic Management Team of Nigeria. Jim Ovia is also a member of Honorary International Investor Council and Board of Trustees, Redeemer’s University for Nations, Lagos.

He is also investing heavily in education and real estate.

2. Second MD of Zenith Bank – Mr. Godwin Emefiele

Godwin Emefiele is the second in the list of the Znith Bank MDs since inception till date. He is one of the pioneer staff of the bank.

His Background

Godwin Emefiele - Zenith Bank MD (2010 - 2014)
Godwin Emefiele – Zenith Bank MD (2010 – 2014)

Godwin Emefiele is from Agbor, precisely Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State.  He was born on August 4, 1961 in Lagos State.Emefiele attended Ansar Udin Primary School and Maryland Comprehensive Secondary both in Lagos State, Nigeria. After that he proceeded to the prestigious University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) for his tertiary education. He obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Banking and Finance, finishing as one of the top students in his class, in 1984. Soon after his National Youth Service, Godwin Emefiele returned to UNN for a Masters Degree in Finance, which he obtained in 1986. He is also an alumnus of Executive Education at Stanford UniversityHarvard University (2004) and Wharton School of Business (2005).

Early in his career, Emefiele lectured finance and insurance at the University of Nigeria Nsukka, and University of Port Harcourt, respectively before moving into banking with Jim Ovia.

Emefiele has been on the bank’s management team since inception and has held various management positions in the bank, including serving as the Bank’s Executive Director in charge of Corporate Banking, Treasury, Financial Control and Strategic Planning.

His Tenure as the MD of Zenith Bank – August 2010 – June 2014

Godwin Emefiele took over from his long time associate and founder of the bank Jim Ovia when Jim stepped down in 2010 following a policy change from CBN. Until his appointment as the Managing Director of the bank Emefiele was the Deputy Managing Director of the bank, a positioned he held for 9 years.

Until he took over as Group Managing Director, Emefiele was directly responsible for all the Group’s local subsidiaries, Treasury and Correspondent Banking, and Multilateral, Conglomerates, & Private Banking. He also had responsibilities for direct supervision of majority of the bank’s branches in Lagos and Northern Nigeria.

Where is Godwin Emefiele Today?

Today he is the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria. He was appointed into that position by Nigeria’s former president Goodluck Jonathan on June 4, 2014. And on May 2 2019 President Mohammadu Buhari reappointed him for another 5 years tenure. So Emefiele is still the number one banker of Nigeria as at today.

List of Zenith Bank MDs Since Inception Till Date
List of Zenith Bank MDs Since Inception Till Date

3. Third MD of Zenith Bank – Mr. Peter Amangbo

Third on our list of Zenith Bank MDs since inception till date is Mr. Peter Amangbo. He joined Zenith Bank just 3 years after the bank was founded and continued with them till he retired in 2019. That means he spent all his banking years with Zenith Bank.

Background

Peter Amangbo - Zenith Bank MD (2014 - 2019)
Peter Amangbo – Zenith Bank MD (2014 – 2019)

Peter Amangbo studied Electrical and Electronics Engineering at the University of Benin. He graduated in 1988 with a B.Engr. degree. Amangbo is also an alumnus of the Warwick Business School where he studied for a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degree, graduating in 1995. He has participated in the Advanced Management Programme at INSEAD and is also a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (FCA).

Before pursuing a career in banking, Amangbo worked as a Senior Consultant at PriceWaterHouseCoopers. His job entailed covering assignments in manufacturing, financial services and general commerce. But he only worked in the company for four years before joining Zenith Bank Plc in 1993.

Tenure as Zenith Bank MD: June 2014 – May 2019

Peter Amangbo was immediately appointed as the MD of Zenith Bank in June 2014 following the departure of Godwin Emefiele. Emefiele was appointed as CBN Governor paving the way for Amangbo.

Prior to this appointment, Mr. Amangbo has been an Executive Director of the bank since 2005. And has over twenty four years of banking experience, all of which has been with Zenith Bank.

There is no gainsaying the fact that Mr. Amangbo contributed immensely towards the development of Zenith Bank Plc during his tenure as the MD. Within the years he presided over as the MD the banks’s figures were all in green. The turnover increased from ₦311.2 billion in 2013 to ₦673.6 billion in 2017. Similarly, the company’s profit after tax surged from ₦83.4 billion in 2013 to ₦157.1 billion in 2017.

The company, under the leadership of Amangbo, continued the impressive success in 2018 by reporting a gross earning of ₦474.6 billion and a profit after of ₦144.1 billion.

Where is Peter Amangbo Today?

Amangbo wouldn’t let all the banking experience he got while working to just end like that after retirement. So he decided to set up his own bank. And today he is proudly the owner of one of the emerging banks in Nigeria Globus Bank. So he is currently the chairman of Globus Bank.

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4. Fourth MD of Zenith Bank – Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu

The final on the list of Zenith Bank MDs is Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu. He is the current MD of the bank.

Background

Ebenezer Onyeagwu - Current MD of Zenith Bank
Ebenezer Onyeagwu – Current MD of Zenith Bank

Mr. Onyeagwu is a graduate of Accounting from Auchi Polytechnic where he obtained the Ordinary National diploma in 1984 and Higher National Diploma in 1987.  He qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1989. This he achieved while he was still undergoing the compulsory National Youth Service Corp (NYSC). He was named a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (FCA) in 2003.

Ebenezer is also an alumnus of the prestigious University of Oxford, England, from where he obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Strategy, and certificate in Macroeconomics. He also undertook extensive executive level business education several business schools. Some of them are Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia Business School of Columbia University. Others are Harvard Business School of Harvard University and Lagos Business School of the Pan African University, Nigeria.

Career with Zenith Bank

He has nearly 30 years’ experience in the banking industry in Nigeria.  He joined Zenith Bank Plc in 2002 as a Senior Manager, in the Internal Control and Audit Group of the bank.  His professionalism, competence, integrity and commitment to the set objectives of the bank saw him rise swiftly between 2003 and 2005. First, as Assistant General Manager, then Deputy General Manager, and eventually as General Manager of the bank.  In these capacities, he handled strategies for new business and branch development, management of risk assets portfolios, treasury functions strategic top level corporate, multinationals and public institutional relationships, among others.

As Deputy Managing Director, Mr. Onyeagwu has oversight over the bank’s Financial Control and Strategic Planning, Risk Management, Retail Banking, Institutional and Corporate banking business portfolios, IT Group, Credit Administration, Treasury and Foreign Exchange Trading, as well as general administration of the bank, among others.

He was named Executive Director of the bank in 2013, and put in charge of Lagos and South-South Zones. He was equally in charge of strategic groups/business units of the bank including Financial Control & Strategic Planning, Treasury and Correspondent Groups. Other areas he covered are Human Resources Group, Oil and Gas Group, and Credit Risk Management Group, etc. He was then named Deputy Managing Director of the bank in 2016.

Tenure as Zenith Bank MD – June 1, 2019 to Date

In 2019 the Bank announced Ebenezer as the new MD of the bank with effect from June 1, 2019. He took over from  Mr. Peter Amangbo who served from from 2014 to May 2019.

Conclusion

Zenith Bank is not the biggest bank in Nigeria for nothing. the bank has shown unbeatable consistency in grooming leaders from within the bank. The succession plan of the bank is such that should be emulated. All four MDs of Zenith Bank within its 32 years of existence has come from within the bank.

Let’s watch and see if the tradition of selecting Zenith Bank MDs from within will continue by the time the tenure of the current MD expires.

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