has this week been promoted to president of Microsoft International, in the process handing over responsibility for Europe, the Middle East and Africa to former Microsoft U.K. chief Neil Holloway.
Courtois will be responsible for leading 15,000 staff in all of Microsoft's sales, marketing and services business outside of North America.
In an interview with silicon.com, Courtois said building trusting relationships will be key to breaking into emerging markets, especially when governments in some developing countries have started to make moves toward open-source software.
"I think about growth first and especially in emerging markets in China, India and Russia. I've spent a lot of time in the last five years in the Middle East and Africa positioning our company and I feel very passionately about developing that at a company level. It's all about creating deep trust and deep partnerships."
Courtois, who will report into Microsoft's worldwide head of sales, Kevin Johnson, in Redmond, added that established markets such as Japan, France, Germany and the U.K. will still remain key to future growth.
"Japan is No. 2 outside the U.S. and there are lots of opportunities to exploit growth in Japan. We also see the U.K. market as fast-growing for a few years yet, both in terms of business and the consumer world," he said.
Andy McCue of Silicon.com reported from London.