‘No undue pressure’ in Zurich CFO’s suicide

An independent investigation found that Pierre Wauthier, the former chief financial officer of Zurich Insurance, was not subject to any “undue pressure” from the company before he committed suicide in August, the Swiss insurer said on Monday.

'No undue pressure' in Zurich CFO's suicide
Pierre Wauthier. Photo: Zurich Insurance

Wauthier, 53, was found dead in his home in Walchwil in the canton of Zug on August 26th.

The husband and father of two left behind a note that mentioned his difficult relationship with Josef Ackermann, then chairman of the company.

Ackermann, former head of Deutsche Bank, resigned after the death saying that Wauthier’s family believed he was partly to blame for the tragedy, although he maintained such allegations were unfounded.

FINMA, the Swiss Market Supervisory Authority, launched two investigations into the case.

The first one reached a conclusion that Wauthier was not subject to undue pressure after reviewing numerous documents and questioning individuals who worked with the CFO.

“This FINMA-directed investigation found no indication of any such pressure or other inappropriate conduct nor of any improper management of Zurich,” the company said in a news release.

In a separate investigation, FINMA found that there were no irregularities with the company’s financial reporting, which Zurich said “complies with regulatory and accounting requirements”.

“We are still deeply saddened by the loss of Pierre Wauthier and we are unable to explain the motivation behind his tragic decision,” Zurich Chairman Tom de Swaan said in a statement.

“FINMA’s investigation was conducted with Zurich’s full support and cooperation.”

Wauthier's suicide shocked the Swiss corporate community, coming a month after the 49-year-old head of the Swisscom telecom operator, Carsten Schloter, took his life in late July.

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