Jim Barksdale's Profile
Jim Barksdale
When Jim Clark and venture capitalist John Doerr set out to hire Netscape's first real CEO, Jim Barksdale found himself at the top of the short list of candidates. While Barksdale, a career executive with IBM and Federal Express, knew little about running a start-up in Silicon Valley and had never even seen Netscape's browser in action, his sterling reputation as a businessman made him very attractive. "Every fast-growing start-up looks for a Jim Barksdale," Doerr once observed. "He's the gold standard." And in a business world where a Pepsi executive (John Sculley) ran Apple, a high-tech background was not essential to run a Valley company. Business savvy was essential, however, and the consensus was that Barksdale had what it took. Barksdale joined Netscape in January of 1995. In roughly four years as CEO, he negotiated Netscape's IPO (the most successful ever at its time), solidified the company's business model, and negotiated a multi-billion dollar merger with AOL in March of 1999. Barksdale currently sits on the board of AOL and has established a venture capital firm as well.