James Dondero is best known for founding Highland Capital Management over twenty years ago with help from longtime business partner Mark Okada. Mr. Dondero, often referred to as “Jim” by his friends and family, is currently the President of Highland Capital Management. Jim Dondero is a highly successful businessman, to summarize his biography in simple terms, with his entire resume littered with success. He also holds the titles of Chartered Financial Advisor and Certified Management Accountant, two accolades he earned in the few years following his graduation from college.
Mr. Dondero went to the University of Virginia, studying both accounting and finance from the moment he stopped foot on campus – there was no debate as to what field he wanted to serve in the future. Thanks to his high ACT scores, James Dondero was able to immediately enter the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce. He graduated after only four years, despite that fact that he earned two separate degrees in accounting and finance, also graduating with highest honors as a member of both Beta Gamma Sigma and Beta Alpha Psi. Just months before he graduated more quickly than scheduled, in 1984 he found a job as an analyst at Morgan Guaranty, today known as JP Morgan Chase, after a handful of mergers and acquisitions.
The next year, less than 12 months after earning those dual bachelor’s degrees, James Dondero was hired on at American Express as a financial analyst for corporate bonds. Prior to his departure, he earned the title of portfolio manager, overseeing more than $1,000,000,000 – that’s 1 billion dollars – in fixed income funds. In 1989, he then moved on to Protective Life’s GIC subsidiary, immediately serving as its chief investment officer. Several years later, alongside several acquisitions with help from Mark Okada, James Dondero had formed Highland Capital Management – the rest is history.
Currently, Mr. Dondero is the leading Chairman of the Boards at NexBank, Cornerstone Healthcare, NexPoint, and CCS Medical. Jim is also a member of American Banknote’s and MGM Studios’ board of directors, although not in a leading position.