James Dondero is an entrepreneur and business leader with more than 30 years of experience in the investment industry. He is focused on expanding access to the alternative investment landscape with his company, NexPoint, and when he is not working towards business goals, he is giving back to the Dallas, Texas, community, which he calls home.
Early Life and Education
James Dondero was born in the New York City adjacent community of Hoboken, New Jersey. Being both bright and ambitious, Mr. Dondero enrolled at the University of Virginia in the McIntire School of Commerce after graduating from high school. In 1984, he graduated Beta Gamma Sigma and Beta Alpha Psi with degrees in accounting and finance and an aspiration to go into real estate investing. However, because of the economic climate at the time, Mr. Dondero’s early career went in a different direction, and he pivoted his focus to credit. He went on to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Managerial Accountant (CMA), and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).
After graduating from college, Mr. Dondero received a position at J.P. Morgan’s Morgan Guaranty Training Program as an analyst before joining American Express in 1985 as a Corporate Bond Analyst/Portfolio Manager. While his dreams of investing in real estate had not gone as planned, within five years of graduation, he was managing $1 billion in fixed-income assets with American Express. In 1989, he joined Protective Life as a Chief Investment Officer. There, he helped create the GIC subsidiary.
In 1993, he left Protective Life and started his own credit-focused investment firm, Highland Capital Management, in Los Angeles, California. The company eventually evolved beyond its initial focus on credit, expanding into other markets and product offerings. In 1994, he relocated his business and himself to Dallas, Texas, where he continues to invest across alternative landscapes. Mr. Dondero’s mission is to expand access to alternative investments, and he consistently drives innovation in the industry around this initiative.
He has had many successes in business, which he partly attributes to his greatest strength: puzzle-solving.
Over the years, Mr. Dondero has established a number of integrated businesses to manage investments in areas such as credit, real estate, and private equity. He has had many successes in business, which he partly attributes to his greatest strength: puzzle-solving. This skill has allowed him to strategically think through complex debt deals, turnarounds, and emerging trends to grow his companies and further the alternative investment landscape at large.
In 2012, he began his most recent venture, NexPoint, in an effort to expand alternative strategies to retail channels. Specializing in real estate, an avenue Mr. Dondero has been passionate about for decades, NexPoint offers a range of alternative investment solutions to meet the ever-evolving needs of investors.
Mr. Dondero currently serves as the founder and principal of the leading alternative investment platform. He is also the Majority Owner and Chairman of the Board for one of its subsidiaries, NexBank. Furthermore, Mr. Dondero is the portfolio manager of NexPoint’s Merger Arbitrage Fund, Event Driven Fund, and Climate Tech Fund and holds various officer and director roles across NexPoint’s publicly traded REITs.
Mr. Dondero proudly sits on several boards at companies within financial services, healthcare, and real estate, among other industries, along with those in the non-profit sector. Some of the companies of which he is a member are as follows:
Although a strategic and successful entrepreneur, some of Mr. Dondero’s interests lie beyond the business world. He is passionate about health and wellness and promotes it within the workplace. He is an avid reader and enjoys books about nutrition, economics, history, and political science. He is a collector of abstract and contemporary art, much of which can be found around the NexPoint office.
Additionally, Mr. Dondero is deeply concerned with conservation efforts, expanding access to education, and furthering the Dallas, Texas, community as a whole. In order to better support those causes, he gives back to organizations in the community that do just that. “We [NexPoint and James Dondero] give to many organizations in the community, but if we see something we think could be transformative, we make meaningful contributions,” wrote Mr. Dondero in a Medium article.
Over the years, he has provided millions of dollars to worthy initiatives in education, veterans’ affairs, and community and economic development and has also been instrumental in supporting institutions in the Dallas, Texas, area, including the George W. Bush Presidential Center, The Family Place, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, the Dallas Zoo, and Southern Methodist University, among others.