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Jim Barksdale is chairman of the board and president of Barksdale Management Corporation, a private company that manages his investments and philanthropic activities. He has over 35 years of operational experience and served as president and CEO of Netscape Communications Corp. from January 1995 until the company merged with America Online in March of 1999. Following the merger, Barksdale joined the Time Warner Board of Directors. He sits on the boards of several other companies and foundations.
Barksdale has held other management positions, including CEO at AT&T Wireless Services (formerly McCaw Cellular Communication), president and COO of McCaw Cellular Communications and executive vice president and COO of Federal Express Corporation. He has received numerous awards and accolades throughout his career, including the "Executive of the Year" award at the 1997 ETRE Budapest Conference, the BEAR Award from Brown University and induction into the University of Mississippi Hall of Fame and the Mississippi Business Hall of Fame.
Barksdale has a passion for education and through the Barksdale Foundation established the Barksdale Honors College at the University of Mississippi in 1997 and the Barksdale Reading Institute in 2001. He and his wife Donna recently funded the creation of the Principal Corps at the University of Mississippi to help change the way school principals are trained.
Following Hurricane Katrina, Barksdale was appointed by Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour as chairman of the Governor's Commission on the Recovery, Rebuilding and Renewal of Mississippi. Most recently, he was asked by Governor Barbour to chair the Mississippi Broadband Connect Coalition. He was awarded the 2011 Mississippi Medal of Service in recognition of his service to the state in education and Katrina Recovery.
Barksdale is a native of Jackson and a graduate of Murrah High School. He received his BA in business administration from the University of Mississippi. He and his wife Donna live in Jackson, Miss.