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Alibaba's Top International Communications Executive Departs to Start a New Firm

James Wilkinson's first client is the Chinese e-commerce giant.

Dan Bigelow

Jim Wilkinson, Alibaba’s high-profile SVP for international corporate affairs, is leaving the company after just two years. The exec, who helped the Chinese e-commerce giant as it went public in the U.S., will be launching a new international communications firm in two months, after transitioning his job to another top Alibaba comms exec Jennifer Kuperman. Alibaba will be one of Wilkinson’s key first clients at the new venture, which will help international companies in growth markets around the globe, especially in China.

“Alibaba is a family that I can’t imagine not being part of, and our work together is only beginning,” said Wilkinson. “I’m deeply grateful for their support for this new entrepreneurial venture.”

Wilkinson, a former PepsiCo exec, came to Alibaba as it sought to have a stronger image in the U.S., critical to its public offering, and built out a team of execs here and in China. One of his assets to Alibaba was his deep political background, including at the State Department, U.S. Treasury and the White House in the administration of former President George W. Bush.

Alibaba’s relationship with Wall Street and U.S. regulators has indeed gone smoothly, despite what have become worrisome economic issues in the China market since Alibabas IPO in the fall of 2014. Its shares are down about 16 percent since then.

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