Alibaba Names Ex-Treasury Official as Communications Chief

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. named Jim Wilkinson, former chief of staff for former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, head of international corporate affairs as it prepares for a U.S. initial public offering.

Wilkinson, who was executive vice president of communications at PepsiCo Inc., will join China’s largest e-commerce company in coming weeks, according to a statement today. He replaces John Spelich, who is now vice president of international e-commerce business development at the Hangzhou-based company.

Alibaba’s market value is estimated at $168 billion, bigger than 95 percent of companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, which would make it the most valuable Internet company after Google Inc., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The company is looking to sell about a 12 percent stake, people familiar with the matter have said, making the offering about $20 billion based on the estimated value.

Wilkinson, who also served as senior adviser to former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, will be based in the San Francisco area.

At PepsiCo, Jon Banner will take over as executive vice president of communications, the snack and beverage maker said today in a separate statement. Banner had served as its senior vice president for communications strategy and planning. Before joining Purchase, New York-based PepsiCo in 2012, Banner spent 20 years at ABC News.

Market Value

Alibaba would rank 34th among the world’s largest companies by market capitalization, behind China Construction Bank Corp. and French energy company Total SA, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The e-commerce company provides various marketplaces for buyers and sellers, as well as services that help them conduct their businesses. Taobao Marketplace, founded in 2003, enables millions of individuals and small businesses to sell products. operates as a virtual shopping mall, with retailers and brands offering products.

Alibaba’s other businesses include Juhuasuan, a discount website.

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