Jim Dolan Resurfaces At Cherry Tree, A Longtime Investor

Jim Dolan Resurfaces At Cherry Tree, A Longtime Investor

James Dolan has joined Cherry Tree Companies, the Minnetonka-based investment firm that helped him launch the Dolan Company more than two decades ago.

After departing the Minneapolis-based company that bears his name, James Dolan is assuming a leadership position at the financial advisory firm that backed him through much of his career.

Minnetonka-based Cherry Tree Companies said Wednesday that Dolan has been named a managing partner of its investment banking unit, Cherry Tree & Associates.

In his new role, Dolan will be based at the company’s Carlson Center headquarters and “will focus on building Cherry Tree’s growing practice in information services and business information clients as well as expanding its existing coverage of the media sector,” the firm said.

Dolan has a long history with Cherry Tree, which helped him launch Dolan Media Company in the early 1990s. Dolan—a former journalist and a protégé of publishing magnate Rupert Murdoch—went on to build a media empire and one of Minnesota’s largest public companies. Cherry Tree initially held an 80 percent stake. Its stake became smaller over the years, especially after the Dolan Company went public in 2007, although some of Cherry Tree’s principals remained investors.

But the Dolan Company, which now provides an array of business information and professional services, struggled in recent years with mounting losses stemming from its mortgage foreclosure processing businesses. And in March, Dolan stepped down as CEO of the company as it filed for bankruptcy, and he was awarded a severance package. The Dolan Company has since emerged from bankruptcy and appointed a new chief executive.

Dolan’s Return To Investment Banking

Dolan didn’t stay off the radar for long, joining Cherry Tree roughly three months after departing the Dolan Company.

And he is no stranger to investment firms. Prior to launching the Dolan Company, he was executive vice president of a New York-based boutique investment bank specializing in media. In fact, it was during his time in New York that Dolan met Cherry Tree cofounder Tony Christianson, and the two began eyeing opportunities to start a company in the media sector.

“I am excited to join Cherry Tree and its impressive professional team,” Dolan said in a Wednesday statement. “We’ve had a long history together and I am eager to contribute to Cherry Tree’s very strong growth.”

Gordon Stofer—who cofounded Cherry Tree with Christianson—pointed out that Dolan completed 76 acquisitions and two-dozen divestitures while running the Dolan Company, equipping him to grow Cherry Tree’s M&A practice.

Cherry Tree & Associates bills itself as Minnesota’s eighth-largest broker-dealer investment bank providing strategic and M&A advisory services to middle-market firms.

Before his time at the New York investment bank, Dolan was a partner at a Chicago-based media M&A investment bank. His career also included a dozen years working for Murdoch's News Corporation.

In 2010, Twin Cities Business inducted Dolan into its Minnesota Business Hall of Fame. View his induction speech and learn more about his career here.