NEW YORK—Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has named Jim Wilkinson as international corporate communications head as it gears up for its landmark IPO.

Wilkinson joins from Pepsico, where he spent two years as EVP of comms. His broad experience of corporate and regulatory affairs is likely to prove crucial for Alibaba, the Chinese company that is attracting considerable scrutiny.

Wilkinson is named SVP and head of international corporate affairs, based in the Bay Area. “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,” said Jack Ma, co-founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group.

“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.”

Wilkinson joined Pepsico from Brunswick Group, where he served as managing partner since 2009. Prior to Brunswick, he was chief of staff for US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and senior advisor to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

He also worked in The White House as deputy national security advisor for communications, and as director of strategic communications for General Tommy Franks at US Central Command.

Alibaba's international communications was previously led for almost six years by Hong Kong-based John Spelich, before he shifted to a new role as VP of international e-commerce business development at the company earlier this year.