Former Bush Administration Official to Lead Corporate Comms for Alibaba

Jim_wilkinson_OurLeadershipYou’ve heard a bit of noise about Alibaba recently, no? The Chinese search/e-commerce giant that is, from what we can tell, a mashup of Amazon, Google and eBay. It’s basically the biggest name in Chinese tech, and it’s about to go public in what should be one of Wall Street’s biggest deals in recent years.

Today the company announced a shrewd move: it has hired James R. Wilkinson, a former senior Treasury Department official with the George W. Bush administration, as its “head of international corporate affairs.”

He served advisory/chief of staff roles in the offices of both Treasury head Henry Paulson and secretary of state Condoleeza Rice.

After the end of the Bush administration, Wilkinson joined Brunswick Group before moving to PepsiCo as its EVP of communications.

The most important word in Wilkinson’s new title is “international”–Alibaba hired him in order to draw upon his experience in the public sector to help it develop good relationships with other countries’ governments.

In other words, it’s quite a gig.

Here’s the New York Times quick video guide to what, exactly, Alibaba does: