In a global company, I often need to address someone in another country without knowing his/her gender in emails with a third person or with a group of people. It's awkward and inefficient to spell his/her name every time in reference of this person, especially if it's a long name. The only solution seems to find out the person's gender after all.
If I have to do so, using emails only,
Should I ask someone who knows him/her or should I ask the person directly? Personally I feel awful to approach the person with this kind of questions.
How should the question be worded to be appropriate? Examples?
Please indicate the culture background of the answer if you don't mind.
The best way to be delicate in such a situation is to express your intention and admit ignorance. "I would like to use a proper form of address, but I don't know if your name indicates a male or female person."