Jim Barksdale was the president and CEO of Netscape Communications Corporation from January 1995 until the company merged with AOL in March 1999. A grandfatherly figure with a plainspoken demeanor, he was a popular and trusted leader at the company. He occasionally made time to visit with employees far down the chain from him; once he donned an ice-cream vendor's uniform and pushed a cart around the hallways of the company, handing out ice cream.
Barksdale was called before Congress several times during hearings about Microsoft and its alleged abuse of its operating system monopoly to dominate the web browser market. At one point he addressed the entire room: "How many of you use Intel-based PCs in this audience, not Macintoshes?" Most people in the room raised their hands. "Of that group who use PCs, how many of you use a PC without Microsoft's operating system?" All of the hands went down. He said to the Senate panel, "Gentlemen, that is a monopoly."  (http://www.cnn.com/TECH/computing/9803/03/gates.full/)
Before Netscape, Barksdale had worked as CEO of AT&T Wireless, and before that as Vice President and COO of FedEx. After departing Netscape, he founded The Barksdale Group, an investment and advisory group created for the purpose of helping Internet service companies. He also sits on the Board of Directors of several companies including Time Warner, FedEx, and Sun Microsystems. President George W. Bush appointed him to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.
He and his wife gave a $5.4 million endowment to the University of Mississippi to help form the McDonnell-Barksdale Honors College.  (http://www.umf.olemiss.edu/newsletter2/barksdale.html) In January 2000, they gave $100 million to the State of Mississippi to create The Barksdale Reading Institute, a joint venture with the Mississippi Department of Education and the state's public universities.
His wife, Sally Barksdale, died of cancer in 2003. They had three children and five grandchildren.  (http://www.clarionledger.com/news/0312/09/ma04.html)
- Greater Talent Network biography (http://www.greatertalent.com/bios/barksdale.shtml)