Former Goldman Sachs Vice Chairman Michael Evans has been named president of Alibaba Group and will lead the execution of the e-commerce giant’s international strategy, the company announced today.
The appointment of Evans, who has been an Alibaba board member since September 2014, to a top post is the latest move in the Hangzhou, China-based company’s globalization efforts. During a 30-year career in international finance, Evans helped develop Goldman Sachs’ China business and servedas chairman of the investment bank’s Asia operations for nearly a decade.
“As we connect Alibaba and the rest of the world, we are turning to a proven international leader who has been connecting China and the rest of the world most of his career,” said Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma in a statement.
Evans will report to CEO Daniel Zhang, who called him a “close advisor to Alibaba Group for many years” who has “deep knowledge of our business.” Zhang stressed that globalization is a priority for the company. “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,” he said.
In a press release, Alibaba said Evans will spearheadthe company’sbid to boost cross-border trade between China andoverseas markets. Initially he will focus onstriking partnerships with key brands, retailers and product owners in Europe, the Americas and Asia, the company said, providing merchants with access to 350 million Chinese consumers who shop on Alibaba’s online marketplaces.
Here’s the full Alibaba Group press release announcing Evans’ appointment:
Alibaba Group today announced the appointment of Michael Evans as President of Alibaba Group, effective immediately.
Mr. Evans will continue his service as a management member of the Alibaba Group Board, having previously served as an independent director since the company’s initial public offering in September 2014.
Mr. Evans’ appointment highlights Alibaba Group’s strong commitment to globalizing its business. The company has made growing its business outside of China a top priority, and is also committed to significantly increasing cross-border trade between China and key markets.
“Michael has been a close advisor to Alibaba Group for many years, and we greatly value his deep knowledge of our business, his experience as a proven business builder and leader globally, and his more than 20 years of experience in China,” said Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang. “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. 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.”
In this new role, Mr. Evans will be responsible for leading and executing Alibaba Group’s international growth strategy to globalize the company and grow the business outside of China. He will report to Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang.
Mr. Evans will harness Alibaba Group’s leading platforms with direct access to 350 million Chinese consumers to drive increased levels of cross border commerce between China and the world. Mr. Evans’ early focus will be on forging close partnerships with key brands, retailers and product owners in Europe, the Americas and Asia to help these important players swiftly and efficiently connect to the large China consumer market. He will bring a strong emphasis on customer service, efficiency and productivity and, working closely with his colleagues in China, ensure that Alibaba will deliver a high quality experience to international merchants and consumers in China.
“I am honored to be joining Alibaba and excited by the opportunity to lead Alibaba’s international growth strategy. I look forward to joining Daniel’s management team and working with a terrific group of people with whom I’ve developed strong relationships,” said Mr. Evans.
“I am delighted that Michael has agreed to take on this important new challenge,” said Alibaba Group Executive Chairman Jack Ma. “As we connect Alibaba and the rest of the world, we are turning to a proven international leader who has been connecting China and the rest of the world for most of his career. Through his work on our board, he has built the trust and respect of our management team, and I have no doubt that he will make a significant contribution to our business.”
Prior to joining Alibaba, Mr. Evans spent 30 years in global finance, including the last 20 years as a Partner of Goldman Sachs, where he served as Vice Chairman, head of Global Growth Markets, and Chairman of Asia, in addition to leadership positions in the Securities and Investment Banking Divisions before leaving the firm in 2014. Mr. Evans is a member of the Board of Directors of Barrick Gold Corporation, Castleton Commodities International LLC and several not-for-profit organizations. Mr. Evans received his bachelor’s degree in politics from Princeton University in 1981 and won an Olympic gold medal for his home country Canada as a member of the men’s eights rowing team in the Los Angeles 1984 Summer Olympics.