After graduating Beta Gamma Sigma from the University of Virginia in 1984, James Dondero went on to manage over a billion dollars in assets with American Express. But with an entrepreneurial fire in his belly, he co-founded Highland Capital Management with partner Mark Okada in Los Angeles in 1993. The company relocated to Dallas soon thereafter, growing into a firm with 18.7 billion dollars of actively managed capital with nearly two-hundred employees.
Having over three decades of financial sector experience, Mr. Dondero has managed mammoth amounts of assets across the global market. As both a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Financial Analyst, Dondero has the experience in the financial field to deliver substantial profits for Highland’s clients. Dondero paints himself as a “puzzle-solver,” and indeed, his innovative ideas in the alternative asset field have solved many investors problems. In the midst of Argentina’s debt crisis in 2012, Dondero invested money in the Latin American nation’s struggling master limited partnerships as well as the nation’s sovereign debt.
In addition, Dondero is the Chairman of three other companies: CCS Medical, Cornerstone Healthcare and Nexbank and serves on the board of directors for both MGM and American Banknote. Despite his impressive resume, Dondero is humble and even introverted, preferring not to boast. He lets his performance in the business world speak for itself.
And though Mr. Dondero is not a native Texan -he was born in New Jersey-, the CEO of Highland Capital Management is passionate about developing the greater Dallas community. His philanthropy operates from his $300 million charitable fund, which disburses $3.5 million to charities annually. He commissioned local art for Highland’s Dallas office in order to beautify the company’s workspace.
James Dondero has excelled in both his professional and philanthropic endeavors, and the Dallas community is better off for his transplant from California in the 90s. Of course, Mr. Dondeo would never admit it.