James Dondero saw success in the financial world quite quickly after graduating from the University of Virginia. Armed with degrees in finance and accounting, he soon began working for JP Morgan, where he gained an extensive amount of experience in investment. As a result of the success that he saw with the firm, he soon began working with American Express, where he gained expertise in fixed income fund management.
Alongside this, Jim Dondero began gaining experience in alternative credit strategies with the company, which was a topic that was relatively new to him. However, this didn’t hurt his career, as he was soon able to master the niche and began receiving a variety of promotions. Eventually, this led to the financial professional being named the CIO of Protective Life’s GIC in 1989. Despite the success that he was seeing, he had a deep-seated passion for establishing his own firm.
This subsequently led to him and Mark Okada, a fellow investment banker, to found Highland Capital Management in 1993. Though initially based in Los Angeles, the company was eventually moved to Dallas, where there were significantly more opportunities for the firm to expand. As a result of this, it soon saw a large amount of success, which eventually led to Highland Capital Management expanding overseas.
Throughout this time, James Dondero grew the firm to have offices in New York, Seoul, Singapore, and Sao Paolo. Alongside this, the company became one of the largest such organizations in the country based on managed assets, with reports highlighting that it’s responsible for over $17 billion in assets.
Alongside this, Jim Dondero has led the firm to be involved in a variety of philanthropic causes across the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The majority of this has been done through the Highland Dallas Foundation, which works with various non-profits across the area.