2014 rank: 26
Jim Wilkinson made the leap from PepsiCo to join Chinese e-commerce juggernaut Alibaba at a crucial time in its history. In May, Alibaba filed for an IPO, which could be potentially the largest tech debut ever.
Previously, he was a key spokesman for the Republican Party and served as a senior adviser to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and deputy assistant to President George W. Bush. With Alibaba under scrutiny from investors, regulators, and the media, his corporate and regulatory affairs experience will be crucial in helping the tech giant navigate the foreign waters.