James Dondero is a highly successful entrepreneur in the Dallas community. He studied at the University of Virginia, earning a degree in commerce with a focus on finance and accounting. He has been in the financial industry since graduating in 1984. He then studied to earn multiple financial certifications such as Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Certified Management Accountant (CMA).
His first job was at Morgan Guaranty where he worked in their training program. A year later, he joined American Express. He started as a corporate bond analyst and then was promoted to the position of portfolio manager. The fund he managed had about $1 billion in assets. He left this position in 1989.
It was in 1989 that he joined a startup, a company started by Protective Life. James Dondero was this company’s chief investment officer. It quickly grew to a firm under his leadership having $2 billion in assets under management.
James Dondero co-founded Highland Capital Management L.P. in Dallas in 1993, along with Mark Okada. This has grown into a multi-billion-dollar enterprise that is invested internationally. Its clients include retail investors and institutional investors. The assets it invests in include real estate, structured credit, private equity, special situations, public equities, high yield credit, and other alternative assets. It now manages more than $20 billion in assets.
His leadership of Highland Capital Management has led to Jim Dondero being asked to join several boards. Among them are Cornestone Healthcare Group, Inc., NexBank Capital, Inc., CCS Medical, MGM Holdings, Inc., and Jernigan Capital Inc. He is also on the executive board of Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business.
A philanthropist, Jim Dondero has supported many charities in Dallas. Among these are a Family Place and the George W. Bush Presidential Center. Other charitable endeavors he supports include ones for veterans affairs, education, and public policy.