Alibaba is continuing its international push after hiring a Goldman Sachs veteran to lead its international business. Michael Evans, a thirty-year finance executive, has joined the company as its new president.
Evans, who left Goldman at the end of 2013 after 20 years with the firm, is not a new face per se, he’s been a member of Alibaba’s board since its U.S. public listing last year. In his new role, Evans — who spent the last nine years at Goldman running the firm’s Asian operations — will be responsible for “leading and executing Alibaba’s international growth strategy,” as it continues to push its network of commerce services to retailers and merchants located outside of China.
Speaking back in April, Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang, who took the hot seat earlier this year, stressed the need for the Chinese company to expand its business across the world. Rather than launching e-commerce services in new markets (though it did recently back out of a U.S. service it launched last year), Alibaba’s international expansion plan focuses around positioning its services — and in particular its branded mall site TMall and its Taobao marketplace — as windows for international brands that seek to reach consumers in China.
Evans, who won a gold medal for rowing at the 1984 Olympics, will report directly to Zhang and is tasked with making that pitch to international brands and retailers not currently part of Alibaba’s ecosystem of e-commerce services.
Outside of straight-up online retail, Alibaba also offers payments service Alipay, which is expected to go public in China in the near future, and Aliyun, the cloud computing business it recently pledged to invested $1 billion in.
“Globalization is Alibaba Group’s most important strategy for the coming decades, and our goal is to help 10 million global businesses and serve 2 billion consumers around the world,” Zhang said in a statement. “We have been laying the foundation for many years and now we need a global team in place with best-in-class talent to bring our vision to fruition. To that end, I can think of no one better than Michael to help Alibaba become a truly global company.”