Former PepsiCo exec Wilkinson hired to head Alibaba communications

May 12, 2014, 7:54 PM UTC

FORTUNE — Jim Wilkinson has been named to lead Alibaba Group’s worldwide public relations efforts days after the Chinese e-commerce giant announced plans for a blockbuster initial public offering. With the announcement, the company has been getting a boost in press coverage, which means Wilkinson will likely have his hands full as he begins in the next few weeks.

At PepsiCo (PEP), Wilkinson served as executive vice president of communications since he joined in 2012. Before that, he was the former chief of staff for former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. He also served as a senior advisor to former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

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According to Alibaba’s executive chairman Jack Ma in a statement, “As Alibaba extends our platform for entrepreneurs and small businesses around the world, it is important that we have the right people in place who have a track record of building bridges across geographic boundaries.”

“Jim’s leadership, global experience and successful track record will help Alibaba bring the message of our mission to markets outside China: to make it easy to do business anywhere,” the billionaire added.

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Wilkinson will be based in San Francisco and takes over from John Spelich, who is set to serve as Alibaba’s vice president of international e-commerce business development. The company filed for a $1 billion IPO last week, but that amount will likely increase in the run-up to the IPO, which is expected in late summer.