Highland Capital Management CEO, James Dondero has now accepted a position as a chair on the Executive Board of SMU’s Cox School of Business. Dondero is honored to be given this position, and has spoken of how SMU’s business school has graduated great business leaders in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Highland Capital has already contributed to scholarship programs for SMU, including the Tower Scholars and Dondero will now be advising the faculty and students at Cox in business strategy. This position is one of many that Dondero has acquired over the years.
James Dondero went into finance and accounting back in 1984 after graduating with high honors from the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce. He started in the Morgan Guaranty credit analyst training program, and then became a corporate bond analyst at American Express bank. He stayed on at American Express till 1989 when he met Mark Okada, and together in partnership with Protective Life Insurance Corporation they took on the management of the GIC subsidiary. Dondero helped grow this subsidiary from mere concept in 1990, to a full $2 billion asset management company by 1993. This company was first known as PAMCO, a wealth management firm specializing mostly in fixed income markets until 1997. After Dondero and Okada purchased full ownership of PAMCO, it was renamed to Highland Capital.
Today Highland Capital has a wide variety of portfolios they manage in various markets, ranging from emerging markets, healthcare investments, public and private equity, real estate, and various distress and special situation investments. Highland Capital is known especially for its issuing of collateralized loan obligations, specialized loans that are pooled together in tranches and bought and sold by various investors. But James Dondero and his company are also active philanthropists in the Dallas community, sponsoring non-profit groups such as Uplift Education, the American Heart Association, the George W Bush Presidential Center, and giving to current and former military servicemen.