Highland Capital Management is a multi-billion-dollar Dallas-based hedge fund that was created in the year 1993. Mark Okada was one of the original founders of the company. He created the company with his friend, Jim Dondero. Okada served as the company's Chief Investment Officer for the past few decades, and Dondero served as its president.
Following its inception in 1993, Highland Capital Management scaled quickly and now has roughly fifteen-billion-dollars in assets under management. Much of the success of Highland Capital was due to the investment insights of Mark Okada.
During his lengthy career, Mark Okada invested the company's capital in assets such as high-yield credit, public equities, real estate, private equity, structured credit, and a number of other types of assets.
To help the company transition, Mr. Okada will be remaining onboard in a senior advisory role for the rest of the year before officially stepping down. He will retain his ownership percentage of the company in retirement.
The role of chief investment officer, which Mr. Okada has occupied for many years, will now be given to Jim Dondero. So, going forward, Dondero will function as both the president of the company and the chief investment officer. Some of Mr. Okada's responsibilities have also been transitioned to the credit research team and to the structured product teams.
Mark Okada has been instrumental in helping Highland Capital to reach the levels of success that the company has reached. His influence will be missed by the company. However, like all company's Highland Capital will have to adapt to the retiring of one of its key leaders. The company has been preparing for the departure of Mr. Okada for some time, however.
Speaking about his retirement, Mark Okada said, "I thank all of my Highland colleagues for their outstanding contributions and particularly Jim for his friendship and support as I begin a new phase in my career."
Highland Capital serves both institutional investors and retail investors. In addition to its Dallas location, the company has offices in Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Singapore, and Seoul. It has become an international wealth management firm that has become synonymous with excellence.
Jim Dondero is one person who will be very sad to see Mark Okada go. The two men have been working together for roughly 30 years. Speaking about Mark's departure, Jim said:
"We are grateful to Mark for his service, his performance, his leadership, and his personality. Over our 30-year partnership, we built a lasting business that has been tested by multiple credit cycles. Mark helped shape Highland and position the firm for future growth. I look forward to working with him across our continuing endeavors."
For years, Okada has served as the public face of Highland Capital Management and has appeared on television shows such as CNBC and Bloomberg TV. Okada has made many memorable appearances on these programs and he is well respected in the media community for being an investment expert.
However, now Highland Capital will have to find a new face for the company in its ranks. It is likely that Jim Dondero will assume some of the media responsibilities for the company, as its new chief investment officer.
One of the projects that Highland Capital will be working on in the near future is the renovation of the 31-year-old Cityplace Tower in Dallas. Highland Capital is partnering with InterContinental Hotels Group to completely renovate the tower.
This is a very exciting project for Highland Capital and it could be tremendously profitable for the company. The Cityplace Tower has been a staple of the Dallas skyline for decades. When the renovations are completed it will be extremely beautiful and modern-looking. Many citizens of Dallas are excited about the project.
Although this is a massive investment and a key project for Highland Capital Management, the company will have to manage the project without Mark Okada as chief investment officer. He will only be available to help from an advisory standpoint.
However, even though he will not be around to lead the way anymore, Mark is very confident that the culture he and Jim have built together at the company will pave the way for long-term success. This culture is centered around innovation, thorough research, and giving back to the community. It has always been important to both Okada and Dondero for Highland Capital to give back, and Okada will hope that this always remains a part of the Highland Capital tradition, long after both he and Dondero are gone.
Going forward, the investment strategies of Highland Capital will remain very similar to those that Okada used while at the company. Highland Capital is confident these strategies will continue to reap high rewards for the company for many years.