Microsoft names new international head

Microsoft named a new head for its international operations on Monday, in a move that underscores the software maker's increasing focus on global sales, and emerging markets in particular.

Jean-Philippe Courtois has been promoted from chief executive officer of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) to the new president of Microsoft International and senior vice president of Microsoft. His ascension marks the first time that Microsoft has put someone in charge of day-to-day international operations outside of the company's headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

Courtois, based in Paris, will now oversee the company's operations across EMEA, Japan, China, the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America, with a concentration on the public sector and emerging markets. In his former role, Courtois caught the attention of Redmond through his handling of growth markets in Europe and Africa and through the alliances he formed in the public sector.

"I feel excited and privileged to build on the work we've done here in EMEA," Courtois said.

Over the last two years, Microsoft has built a strong foundation in terms of how its international subsidiaries operate and it has invested substantially in government and emerging market outreach, explained Kevin Johnson, group vice president for worldwide sales and marketing at Microsoft. In creating this new position, the software maker is working to accelerate its international growth, Johnson added.

Over the past few years Courtois has been tapped to help lead a variety of emerging market, citizenship and public sector initiatives, such as Microsoft's Solutions Sharing Network, an online environment that allows government agencies to share information on IT projects. Looking ahead, he said he would continue to spearhead projects in these areas.

He will also be participating in the company's recently established emerging markets group and has a seat on Microsoft's field governance council for corporate decision making.

"Jean-Philippe has been a slick operator and done a good job getting results in Europe when other companies were complaining that it was a soft market," said RedMonk analyst James Governor.

Courtois has been active in establishing relationships with global leaders, serving as co-chair of the World Economic Forum's Global Digital Divide Initiative Task Force and a member of the South African International Advisory Council on Information Society and Development, Microsoft said.

Growth markets have represented a growing percentage of Microsoft's sales as the software maker faces saturation in more mature markets. The public sector has also presented increasing opportunities for the company as government agencies are often the biggest consumer of IT in any market. But strength in these sectors can depend on the ability to forge local partnerships, and Microsoft ascribes this talent to Courtois.

This concentration on the public sector and growth markets is critical for Microsoft, especially when facing open-source competitors in Europe, Governor said.

Courtois said he expect to tap into his open-source experience when he heads to other price sensitive markets, such a those in Asia.

"As a company we have learned that we need to bring additional value," he said.

As Courtois looks further afield, Neil Holloway has been appointed as the new president of Microsoft EMEA. Holloway was formerly corporate vice president of sales, marketing and services in the region. He will report to Courtois.

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