China's Alibaba Taps Former Goldman Exec, Olympic Gold Medalist as President

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Jack Ma

Canadian Michael Evans will be charged with helping the e-commerce giant expand globally.

Alibaba Group has named Michael Evans president and charged the executive with leading the global expansion for the Chinese e-commerce giant.

The Canadian ex-Goldman Sachs executive will be tasked with helping Alibaba meet its corporate goal of reaching 10 million global businesses, including top corporate brands, and 2 billion consumers around the world.

"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 CEO Daniel Zhang.

Evans, who won an Olympic gold medal as part of Canada’s eight-men rowing team at the Los Angeles 1984 Summer Olympics, for the last 20 years served as a partner at Goldman Sachs. He has been sitting on the Alibaba board since the company's IPO in the fall.

On the entertainment front, Alibaba invested in Paramount's Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation and struck a long-term partnership with L.A.- and Beijing-based film company DMG and Hunan TV to create China’s first digital home entertainment platform.

Alibaba Pictures also backed a slate of films to be produced by Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai, and Alibaba bought an 8.8 percent stake in Enlight Media, one of China’s leading private film and TV companies.