Despite selling back half of its 40% stake in Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba this past September, for a total of $7.6 billion, Yahoo still owns a sizable amount of the company’s stock, around 23%. With that kind of investment, you can be sure that Yahoo still wants some control over the direction that Alibaba takes.
Jacqueline Reses, executive vice president of people and development at Yahoo, is joining the board at Alibaba, the company announced Wednesday. She is joining Alibaba executive Jack Ma and Joe Tsai, along with SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, as one of the four members of the board.
“Today’s announcement underscores Alibaba’s strong relationship with Yahoo!,” Jack Ma, chairman and chief executive officer of Alibaba Group, said in a statement. “We are pleased to welcome such an experienced and respected executive like Jackie, who brings a wealth of strategic insight and operating experience to the Alibaba board.”
Reses was hired by Yahoo in September, one of a number of women picked to join the ranks by newly appointed CEO Marissa Mayer, along with new CMO Kathy Savitt, and Anne Espiritu, who ran consumer technology PR for Google, who Mayer hired to handle corporate communications at Yahoo.
Before coming to Yahoo, Reses previously worked at Goldman Sachs for seven years, before leading the U.S. media group at Apax Partners.
While at Apax Partners, Reses was heavily involved with investing in media and technology businesses, while also working in the company’s talent initiatives, including recruiting and training. Reses was named one of Crain’s New York Business’ “Most Influential Women,” and was one of Dealmaker magazine's “Dealmakers of the Year."
Her experience at Apax served as her qualification for the position at Yahoo, as Reses, in her role as EVP of people and development, is in charge of acquiring talent and human resources.
“I’m honored to be a part of Alibaba’s distinguished board,” Reses said in a statement. “Jack and the team have built a strong business that has changed the e-commerce landscape in China. I look forward to working closely with them as Alibaba continues to innovate and grow.”
When Yahoo first announced that it would be selling its Alibaba shares in May, it was reported that the company would be returning the money to its shareholders. Those plans were eventually put on hold, however, as Mayer ordered a review of the company’s business strategy, starting with what to do with the money made from selling the Alibaba shares.
The speculation at the time was that, if Yahoo did decide to keep the money, it would possibly use it to refocus on investments in search and communications, or share repurchase and restructuring.
Since then, Mayer has since made clear her intentions to reinvest in Yahoo's main products: search, mobile, content, and advertising, with particular emphasis on mobile, which she has called, "A platform shift we have to ride and participate in order to be relevant.”
Yahoo shares were up 2.05% on Tuesday, trading at 18.93 a share.
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