James L. Barksdale is chairman of the board and president of Barksdale Management Corp. He also serves as chairman of Spread Networks, a company he helped establish in 2009. He served as president and chief executive officer of Netscape Communications Corp. from January 1995 through the company’s merger with America Online in March 1999. Upon completion of the merger, Barksdale joined Time Warner’s board of directors. Prior to Netscape, his positions included CEO of AT&T Wireless Services and executive vice president and chief operating officer at Federal Express Corp.
The Barksdale Foundation established the Barksdale Honors College at the University of Mississippi in 1997, and in January 2000, the foundation granted $100 million to the state of Mississippi for creation of the Barksdale Reading Institute to help Mississippi children improve their reading skills. In 2008, Barksdale and his wife, Donna Kennedy Barksdale, presented a gift to the University of Mississippi for the creation of the Mississippi Principal Corps, an initiative designed to change the way Mississippi school principals are trained.
Barksdale has served several Governor-appointed roles, including Chair of the Governor’s Commission on the Recovery, Rebuilding and Renewal of Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina; Chair of the Mississippi Broadband Connect Coalition; interim executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority; and Co-chair of Mississippi Works. Barksdale’s many honors include University of Mississippi Hall of Fame; the Mississippi Business Hall of Fame; the “Legend Award” in the Mississippi Innovators’ Hall of Fame; Memphis Society of Entrepreneurs and Tougaloo College’s 2016 Light of Justice Award. He sits on the boards of several companies and foundations, including Time Warner; Federal Express; and In-Q-Tel. He was appointed to the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board by President George W. Bush.
He received his B.A. in business administration from the University of Mississippi and has received honorary Doctors of Laws degrees from both Rhodes College and Millsaps college, as well as another honorary degree from Duke University. In 2001, the University of Mississippi conferred the Mississippi Humanitarian Award to him.