Michael Evans of Alibaba on Singles Day and Olympic Rowing

A longtime Goldman Sachs banker now helps oversee the Chinese e-commerce behemoth. Here is David Gelles’ profile of Michael Evans of Alibaba for The New York Times. To read the complete article and check out other resources, please click here.

Credit: Jean Chung/Bloomberg, via Getty Images

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Nov. 11 was Singles Day in China, the unofficial national celebration of shopping. And once again Alibaba posted record numbers. The Chinese e-commerce site sold $1 billion in goods in the first 85 seconds, almost $31 billion by the time the day was over, and sent more than 1 billion packages out for delivery.

Michael Evans, a former banker originally from Canada, was responsible for overseeing much of those efforts. As president of Alibaba, Mr. Evans works closely with Jack Ma, the company’s co-founder and outgoing chairman, and Daniel Zhang, its chief executive officer. He first got to know Alibaba while working for Goldman Sachs, where he was head of Asia before leaving the firm at the end of 2013. He joined Alibaba in 2015.

Mr. Evans grew up in Toronto with five siblings, including a twin brother, Mark. The twins would go on to join the Canadian Olympic team, which won a gold medal in rowing at the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles.

This interview, which was condensed and edited for clarity, was conducted Nov. 12 at The New York Times International Luxury Conference in Hong Kong.

When did you start rowing with your brother?

There was a little bit too much competition when we were young. My parents sort of purposely kept us out of the same schools. But then we started rowing together in my junior year at Princeton to train for the world championships. This was two years before the ’84 Olympics.

How was that, rowing with the twin you’d been so competitive with?

When it came to race day, our heads were always aligned. Our real focus was to beat the other crew, not to beat ourselves. And we were in a boat of eight. The whole crew had to be aligned and focused on the mission.

And then you had a good Olympic Games.

Yeah, we won. It doesn’t get better than that.


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Here is a direct link to the complete article.

David Gelles writes the Corner Office column and other features for The New York Times’s Sunday Business section, To learn more about him and his work, please click here.

To learn more about him and his work, please click here.


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