James Freeman Barksdale (born March 20, 1953) is an American executive, formerly President and Chief Investment Officer of the original Equity Investment Corporation, which he founded in 1986. He was the Democratic nominee in the 2016 U.S. Senate election in Georgia, which he lost to Johnny Isakson.
Early life and education
Jim Barksdale was born in Macon, Georgia, and attended church and high school in Atlanta. He received a B.S. degree in Psychology from the College of William and Mary in 1975 before going on to receive his MBA from the Wharton School of Finance, University of Pennsylvania in 1977.
Barksdale's career began in the finance department at IC Industries where he was engaged in investments, acquisition analysis, and planning. He then went on to work at Merrill Lynch & Co., becoming involved in risk assessment and asset allocation strategies. He then served as a Portfolio Manager at Management Asset Corporation.After leaving Management Asset Corporation, Barksdale founded the investment advisory firm Equity Investment Corporation in 1986. Under his tenure, the original Equity Investment Corporation's managed assets and advisory-only assets exceeded $5.5 billion for clients across the United States. In 2016 Barksdale was Georgia's Democratic candidate for the United States Senate. He currently manages Socially responsible investing (SRI) themes at Equity Investment Corporation's successor firm, including portfolios implementing Environmental, Catholic, Protestant, and United Nation's Human Rights mandates.
Personal life and philanthropy
In 1986, Barksdale returned to his home town of Atlanta, where he started a family and raised two children.
He has served on the Board of Councilors at the Carter Center since 2008.
Barksdale was the lead philanthropist behind a successful proposal to bring renowned sculptor Robert Berks' iconic 3,000-lb. bronze monument of Albert Einstein to the Georgia Tech campus. Barksdale was particularly passionate about Einstein's legacy as a human rights advocate. A star chart at Einstein's feet depicts the Atlanta night sky on the day of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The sculpture is one of three originals created by Robert Berks, the other two residing in Washington, DC and Israel. The project was successfully completed in October 2015.Barksdale currently serves on the Board of the Atlanta Music Project in Atlanta, Georgia.
2016 US Senate campaign
With the support of Democratic Party leaders, including current Chairman of the Democratic Party of Georgia, DuBose Porter, Jim Barksdale entered the race against incumbent Republican Senator Johnny Isakson in March 2016. On May 24, 2016, Barksdale defeated his two primary challengers for the Democratic nomination, getting almost 54% of the vote. By winning more than 50 percent of the vote, Barksdale avoided a runoff. Barksdale was defeated in the general election by Johnny Isakson.
On his Campaign's Issues page, Jim Barksdale states that "climate change is a reality and if left unchecked, rising ocean tides will harm Georgia's Atlantic coast and threaten our state's robust tourism and shipping industries".