Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. named former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partner Michael Evans as president, putting him in charge of the e-commerce company’s global expansion beyond its home in China.
Evans will report to Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang as he works to make Alibaba a cross-border commerce platform that connects 350 million Chinese shoppers with vendors from around the world, the Hangzhou-based company said.
Billionaire Chairman Jack Ma has set a goal of getting half of Alibaba’s sales from outside China, partnering with global retailers and brands and expanding in markets including Russia and Brazil. The 57-year-old Evans will continue as a director, a role he has held since last year’s record initial public offering, and brings two decades of experience at Goldman Sachs, including stints in New York, London and Hong Kong.
“Overseas expansion is becoming one of the most important sectors of growth for Alibaba,” Xu Wen, a Shenzhen-based analyst for Ping An Securities Co. said by phone. “Alibaba needs a person like Evans who really knows the local markets overseas to help them make inroads.”
Evans’ posts at Goldman Sachs included vice chairman, chairman of Asia and head of global growth markets before leaving the firm, Alibaba said.
Shares of Alibaba rose 1.1 percent to $78.87 in New York, paring this year’s decline to 24 percent.
Overseas purchases by China’s Web shoppers grew from less than $2 billion in 2010 to more than $20 billion in 2014, according to a report by eMarketer.
“We are turning to a proven international leader who has been connecting China and the rest of the world for most of his career,” Ma said in the statement. “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.”
Alibaba is due to announce its earnings for the June quarter on Aug. 12.
Evans won an Olympic gold medal in rowing in 1984, the same year the Canadian earned a master’s degree from Oxford University. He was named a Goldman Sachs partner in 1994, a year after joining the bank from Salomon Brothers. He also has a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University.