Pierre Wauthier

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note:  Mr Wauthier was married with two children, and after receiving a Masters degree from the Sorbonne University in Paris joined KPMG  in 1982. He also spent two years at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs before joining Zurich in 1996.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/zurich-insurance-finance-boss-pierre-wauthier-found-dead-in-likely-suicide-8786540.html

Zurich insurance finance boss Pierre Wauthier found dead in 'likely suicide'

Police in Switzerland say evidence points to 53-year-old CFO having taken his own life, as insurance group's profits reported to be tumbling

Adam Withnall
@adamwithnall
Tuesday 27 August 2013 16:22 BST

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The Independent Online
zurich-pierre-wauthier-deat.jpg
Pierre Wauthier, the chief finance officer of global insurance giant Zurich, was found dead after apparently taking his own life REUTERS

The chief finance officer of global insurance giant Zurich was found dead after apparently taking his own life, police in Switzerland said.

The body of 53-year-old Pierre Wauthier, a British and French citizen, was discovered on Monday at his home in the lakeside suburb of Zug, outside the city of Zurich.

He had served in a number of roles throughout the organisation, and was appointed as its overall head of finance in 2011.

In a statement given to the Reuters news agency this afternoon, Zug police spokesman Marcel Schlatter said: “Based on the forensic institute's initial findings and evidence at his home, we can say the death of Pierre Wauthier is likely to be a suicide.”

Police added that they would not be providing any further details out of respect for Mr Wauthier’s family.

Mr Wauthier was married with two children, and after receiving a Masters degree from the Sorbonne University in Paris joined KPMG in 1982. He also spent two years at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs before joining Zurich in 1996.

Zurich issued a statement yesterday which read: “The Board of Directors, Group Executive Committee and all of our colleagues are deeply saddened and pass on our condolences to the family and relatives.”

It added that Vibhu Sharma, Group Controller, would be taking over the CFO role on an interim basis.

Though Zurich provided no further details, Reuters reported on Monday that the insurance giant had said earlier in August it would be struggling to meet a number of performance targets after posting a 27 per cent drop in second-quarter net profits.

Last year, a reassessment of loss reserves for the company’s German operation drove down net profit by $400 million after it failed to set aside enough money to cover “long tail” liabilities - claims that can be made years after policies have expired. The company was also subject to natural disaster pay-outs greater than those of its rivals due to high exposure to the US.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/zurich-insurance-finance-boss-pierre-wauthier-found-dead-in-likely-suicide-8786540.html

Finance chief Pierre Wauthier's suicide note implicates ex-chairman Josef Ackermann, says Zurich Insurance
The former chief financial officer of Zurich Insurance left a suicide note implicating the group's then chairman Josef Ackermann in his death, the insurer said this morning.
Josef Ackermann, the Deutsche Bank chairman and IIF head, said warned that measure to stabilize domestic financial institutions have had the unintended consequence of being protectionist.
Josef Ackermann said he had "reasons to believe that the family is of the opinion that I should take my share of responsibility"
Alistair Osborne

By Alistair Osborne, Business Editor

9:32AM BST 30 Aug 2013

Zurich confirmed the existence of the note after Mr Ackermann dramatically quit on Thursday in the wake of the death of Pierre Wauthier, saying he had “reasons to believe that the family is of the opinion that I should take my share of responsibility”.

In a conference call aimed at reassuring investors, Zurich’s stand-in chairman Tom de Swaan acknowledged that there had been frenzied media speculation over whether there had been a “letter left” by Mr Wauthier.

“We were informed that such a letter exists and we are aware of its contents,” he said. “It is correct that it relates to the relationship between Pierre Wauthier and Josef Ackermann.”

Mr de Swaan said: “It would be inappropriate for me to elaborate on it. It's a very difficult situation especially for the family and friends of Pierre Wauthier and we all need to respect their privacy during this difficult time. We all deeply regret his passing which was completely unexpected.”

Announcing an internal investigation, he said “the board sees it as its prime responsibility to look into the question of whether there was undue pressure placed on our cfo. Let me be absolutely clear, the board and management of Zurich take corporate culture and behaviour very seriously.”

Mr Wauthier, 53, who was married with two children, was found dead on Monday at his home in a lakefront suburb of Zug outside Zurich. On Tuesday police said he appeared to have taken his own life.

His widow, Fabienne Wauthier, is said to have accused Zurich’s management of driving her husband “into a corner” and that Mr Ackermann’s “tough management style” had put Mr Wauthier under insufferable pressure.

Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger reported that, in his suicide note, Wauthier made allegations against Mr Ackermann and said he could not handle his criticism.

Mr de Swaan said Mr Wauthier‘s death had cast a “shadow“ over the company but stressed: “From my own personal perspective I am not aware of any behaviour that would be inappropriate in a board setting. The Zurich management team has the board's full support and we fully recognise that the recent developments have been extremely unsettling and our focus is on ensuring the continued stability of the company.”

He added: “The board is well aware of the need to strengthen the management team and I consider this to be our top priority.”

Mr Ackermann, 65, took over as chairman of Zurich in March last year after a decade at the helm of Deutsche Bank, steering Germany’s biggest lender through the financial crisis.

He has a reputation for being a hard task master, with reports suggesting he had come in to “shake up” Zurich. One insider was quoted, saying: “Ackermann did not became chairman at Zurich in order not to change anything.”

In his statement on Thursday, he appeared to deny that he had placed Mr Wauthier under intolerable pressure, saying that, whatever allegations the family was making, they were “unfounded”.

Results have disappointed, however, with the most recent quarter showing an 18pc drop in profits, while there has been a high turnover of senior staff.

Zurich’s chief executive Martin Senn insisted this morning that there were no financial issues or irregularities at the company that could have triggered the death of Mr Wauthier, who he considered a “terrific colleague”.

“There is no link between this news and Zurich’s business performance or results,” Mr Senn told analysts.

“The results were somewhat mixed but we continue to be profitable,” he said, adding: “We have a strong and resilient balance sheet.”

Mr Wauthier is the second top executive of a Swiss company to have committed suicide in the past five weeks, following the death of Swisscom’s 49-year-old chief executive Carsten Schloter.

---------------------------

Finance chief Pierre Wauthier's suicide note implicates ex-chairman Josef Ackermann, says Zurich Insurance
The former chief financial officer of Zurich Insurance left a suicide note implicating the group's then chairman Josef Ackermann in his death, the insurer said this morning.
Josef Ackermann, the Deutsche Bank chairman and IIF head, said warned that measure to stabilize domestic financial institutions have had the unintended consequence of being protectionist.
Josef Ackermann said he had "reasons to believe that the family is of the opinion that I should take my share of responsibility"
Alistair Osborne

By Alistair Osborne, Business Editor

9:32AM BST 30 Aug 2013

Zurich confirmed the existence of the note after Mr Ackermann dramatically quit on Thursday in the wake of the death of Pierre Wauthier, saying he had “reasons to believe that the family is of the opinion that I should take my share of responsibility”.

In a conference call aimed at reassuring investors, Zurich’s stand-in chairman Tom de Swaan acknowledged that there had been frenzied media speculation over whether there had been a “letter left” by Mr Wauthier.

“We were informed that such a letter exists and we are aware of its contents,” he said. “It is correct that it relates to the relationship between Pierre Wauthier and Josef Ackermann.”

Mr de Swaan said: “It would be inappropriate for me to elaborate on it. It's a very difficult situation especially for the family and friends of Pierre Wauthier and we all need to respect their privacy during this difficult time. We all deeply regret his passing which was completely unexpected.”

Announcing an internal investigation, he said “the board sees it as its prime responsibility to look into the question of whether there was undue pressure placed on our cfo. Let me be absolutely clear, the board and management of Zurich take corporate culture and behaviour very seriously.”
Related Articles

Mr Wauthier, 53, who was married with two children, was found dead on Monday at his home in a lakefront suburb of Zug outside Zurich. On Tuesday police said he appeared to have taken his own life.

His widow, Fabienne Wauthier, is said to have accused Zurich’s management of driving her husband “into a corner” and that Mr Ackermann’s “tough management style” had put Mr Wauthier under insufferable pressure.

Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger reported that, in his suicide note, Wauthier made allegations against Mr Ackermann and said he could not handle his criticism.

Mr de Swaan said Mr Wauthier‘s death had cast a “shadow“ over the company but stressed: “From my own personal perspective I am not aware of any behaviour that would be inappropriate in a board setting. The Zurich management team has the board's full support and we fully recognise that the recent developments have been extremely unsettling and our focus is on ensuring the continued stability of the company.”

He added: “The board is well aware of the need to strengthen the management team and I consider this to be our top priority.”

Mr Ackermann, 65, took over as chairman of Zurich in March last year after a decade at the helm of Deutsche Bank, steering Germany’s biggest lender through the financial crisis.

He has a reputation for being a hard task master, with reports suggesting he had come in to “shake up” Zurich. One insider was quoted, saying: “Ackermann did not became chairman at Zurich in order not to change anything.”

In his statement on Thursday, he appeared to deny that he had placed Mr Wauthier under intolerable pressure, saying that, whatever allegations the family was making, they were “unfounded”.

Results have disappointed, however, with the most recent quarter showing an 18pc drop in profits, while there has been a high turnover of senior staff.

Zurich’s chief executive Martin Senn insisted this morning that there were no financial issues or irregularities at the company that could have triggered the death of Mr Wauthier, who he considered a “terrific colleague”.

“There is no link between this news and Zurich’s business performance or results,” Mr Senn told analysts.

“The results were somewhat mixed but we continue to be profitable,” he said, adding: “We have a strong and resilient balance sheet.”

Mr Wauthier is the second top executive of a Swiss company to have committed suicide in the past five weeks, following the death of Swisscom’s 49-year-old chief executive Carsten Schloter.
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Pierre Wauthier Widow: 'I Overestimated How Important Family Was to Him'

Sean Martin
By Sean Martin
April 11, 2014 10:58 BST

Fabienne Wauthier has said that she “overestimated” the importance of family to Pierre.
Fabienne Wauthier has said that she “overestimated” the importance of family to Pierre.Reuters

The widow of Pierre Wauthier, Zurich Insurance's chief financial officer who committed suicide last year, has said that she "overestimated" the importance of the family to him.
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In an interview with the Evening Standard, Fabienne Wauthier said that Pierre left his family "in so much pain" and she still can't make sense of it.

In his suicide note, Pierre is said to reference a difficult working relationship with Joseph Ackermann, chairman of Zurich Insurance, and the mounting stress that he was under.

"The problem is that I didn't underestimate the pressure he was under at work; I overestimated how important his family was to him," Fabienne Wauthier told the Evening Standard.

Fabienne went on to describe the demands of the role: "Usually he had seven hours' sleep and the rest of the time it was BlackBerry in one hand, laptop in the other. We weren't necessarily happy that he was sacrificing family time for work but we respected his decision because it was not profit-orientated. He had a long-term ambition to make the company better."
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Pierre Wauthier Suicide: Josef Ackermann Quit Zurich as Widow Planned to Read Final Letter at Funeral

Pierre had alerted the human resources department in the July before his death that he was under stress, but Fabienne says that this was not encouraging for him.

"It did not reassure him. A lot of expectations, and how to defend the CEO's vision of company strategy, were heaped on him.

"What had changed was that they had a new chairman who wanted to rapidly turn Zurich into a very profitable and attractive company for shareholders. This was at odds with Pierre's belief in the social role of an insurer.

"In November 2012 the pressure started to build up but it got worse. June was rather difficult, July was even worse and August was apparently unbearable."

The Evening Standard spoke to Zurich Insurance regarding the stress that Wauthier was said to be under and responded: "A comprehensive review was conducted [into Wauthier's death], directed by Finma, and found no indication of any undue pressure."

Joseph Ackermann resigned as Chairman of Zurich Insurance shortly after the death of Pierre.

He said at the time "I have reasons to believe that the family is of the opinion that I should take my share of responsibility, as unfounded as any allegations might be," he said, adding that he was trying "to avoid any damage to Zurich's reputation".
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/pierre-wauthier-widow-i-overestimated-how-important-family-was-him-1444365

Josef Ackermann Quitting Siemens Board Weeks After Zurich Resignation Over Pierre Wauthier Suicide

Shane Croucher
By Shane Croucher
Updated

Josef Ackermann
Josef Ackermann also quit his role on the Zurich board following the suicide of Pierre Wauthier (Reuters)

Embattled Josef Ackermann is reportedly on the verge of stepping down from the Siemens board just weeks after resigning as chairman of Zurich Insurance Group in the wake of late Chief Financial Offer Pierre Wauthier's suicide.
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Ackermann, who is a former chief executive of Deutsche Bank, is on the verge of quitting his deputy chairman role at German engineering giant Siemens, an anonymous source with knowledge of the situation told Reuters. Neither Ackermann nor Siemens commented.

He left the board of insurer Zurich in August after his colleague Wauthier's suicide, which has been linked to the pair's fraught working relationship after it was referenced in the CFO's final note before he took his life.

The banker, who was once one of world's most influential financiers, released a resignation statement saying that he believed Wauthier's family held him partly responsible for the suicide, though he dismissed any allegations as "unfounded".

Separate reports in the Swiss press, citing sources who have purportedly read the suicide note, suggest Wauthier had written that it was difficult to work with Ackermann, including one incident of a "particularly hurtful" conversation between the two men.

After Ackermann's resignation, Zurich bosses launched an internal investigation to see if Wauthier had been placed under any "undue pressure" ahead of his tragic death.

"Let me be absolutely clear, we, meaning the board and management of Zurich, take corporate culture and behaviour very seriously," said Tom de Swaan, acting chairman at Zurich when he announced the probe in a conference call with concerned investors.

"In addition, from my own personal perspective, I am not aware of any behaviour that would be considered inappropriate in a board setting."

When quitting, Ackermann said he was trying "to avoid any damage to Zurich's reputation".

"I have reasons to believe that the family is of the opinion that I should take my share of responsibility, as unfounded as any allegations might be," he said, adding that the death of Wauthier has "shocked" him.

Ackermann remains on the boards of Royal Dutch Shell and Investor AB.
This article was first published on September 12, 2013

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/josef-ackermann-siemens-zurich-insurance-pierre-wauthier-505582

Wauthier’s Life Is in Spotlight After Ackermann Exits

By Corinne Gretler, Carolyn Bandel and Elena Logutenkova Sep 6, 2013 10:45 AM CT

Three years ago Pierre Wauthier ran a half-marathon on his 50th birthday. Last month he took his own life, leaving a typed note criticizing Josef Ackermann, one of Europe’s most prominent financial figures.

The decision by the triathlete, husband and father of two to end his life was described as shocking by friends and co-workers, who knew the chief financial officer of Zurich Insurance Group AG (ZURN) as a hard-working problem-solver who brought humor to the dry world of insurance accounting.

His letter mentioning Ackermann, who stepped down as Zurich’s chairman after Wauthier, 53, committed suicide, also confounded colleagues. Zurich Insurance held a memorial service for Wauthier today at Zurich’s Grossmuenster church, an edifice built in the Middle Ages overlooking the Limmat River.

“Pierre was a resilient chap, and his suicide seems totally out of character,” said Paul Goodhind, an independent insurance industry consultant, adding he knew Wauthier well from the time he followed Zurich Insurance as an analyst. “Pierre had an air of self-confidence about him, and I always saw him as a high flyer.”

Suicide Note

Wauthier, born in London to a German mother and French father, returned to Switzerland in late 2007 after a stint in California to take the position of group treasurer at Zurich Insurance, the country’s biggest insurer. Four years later, he was promoted to CFO. His tenure under Ackermann, who joined the company after 10 years as the chief executive officer of Deutsche Bank AG (DBK), lasted about 15 months.

In a typed and signed note, under the heading “to whom it may concern,” Wauthier wrote that Ackermann created an unbearable working environment, according to a person who read the letter and asked not to be identified because the matter is private.

Ackermann, who resigned on Aug. 29, said allegations that he bore some responsibility for the suicide were “unfounded,” while acting Chairman Tom de Swaan, 67, and CEO Martin Senn said they saw no signs of conflict between the executives. The board will conduct a review to make sure no undue pressure was put on the CFO, they said.

In a statement on Sept. 1, Ackermann said that “out of respect,” he doesn’t want to make any further comments about the matter. Phone calls to Joerg Neef, a spokesman for Ackermann, were not returned over the past two days.

‘Always Respectful’

Among the attendees of today’s memorial service were Axel Lehmann and Geoff Riddell, both members of Zurich Insurance’s executive committee, as well as former Chairman Manfred Gentz.

Zurich Insurance wants to “learn the lessons of the recent past and use them to build a stronger future,” de Swaan said at the service. Senn told attendees that the firm needs to “continue on its path and continue to look after its values.”

“Colleagues speak of his kindness, humor, his great sensitivity and his quirky taste of ties,” de Swaan said. “Despite his superiority, he was always respectful to others.”

Wauthier, who had French and British citizenship, worked a lot and enjoyed it, former co-workers said. In his early days at Zurich’s investor relations department, colleagues would find him poring over spreadsheets until late at night, according to two people who knew him at the time. He was knowledgeable and loved numbers, they said.

Ackermann Meeting

Ackermann, 65, didn’t know Wauthier well and typically saw him about once a month as part of regular board briefings, said a person close to the former Deutsche Bank CEO, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. While the former colonel in the Swiss Army put pressure on management to improve Zurich Insurance’s performance, he didn’t consider his efforts excessive, the person said.

One meeting occurred before the presentation of second-quarter earnings on the afternoon of Aug. 14. The two men, together with James Quin, the head of investor relations, had a discussion about how to present the progress the company was making on reaching year-end targets, according to two people briefed on the meeting who asked not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak publicly.

There was no indication the meeting, or other encounters between the men, would have upset Wauthier to the point of suicide, said one of the people.

London Trip

Ackermann’s abrupt departure after sent the company’s shares down as much as 3.8 percent on Aug. 29 and sparked doubts about Zurich Insurance’s financial health after it missed analysts’ profit estimates in three of the past four quarters and announced a surprise write-off in October. That forced Senn to tell analysts on a conference call on Aug. 30 there was no link between Wauthier’s death and the company’s business.

The shares closed at 236.50 Swiss francs in Zurich, unchanged on the day. They dropped 5.1 percent in the five days through Aug. 30, bringing annual declines to 2.8 percent.

Senn, who spent two days in London with Wauthier less than a week before he was found dead on Aug. 26, said the CFO seemed “as fit as a fiddle,” according to an interview in NZZ am Sonntag, published Sept. 1. Executives were making presentations to investors and Wauthier “did an excellent job, for which I complimented him,” he said.

“He was a person of high integrity,” Senn, who declined to speak to Bloomberg, told the newspaper. “Pierre was humble and concentrated fully on his work. That’s why he was not well known publicly.”

Tunisia, Algeria

Wauthier grew up traveling and living with his parents in Africa because of his father’s work as a journalist for Agence-France Presse, said his widow, Fabienne Wauthier, in a telephone interview. The family lived in Tunisia, South Africa and Algeria, she said, adding that the two met while studying at the Sorbonne University in Paris.

Wauthier held a master’s degree in international finance from l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales outside Paris and a master’s in private law from the Sorbonne. After starting his career in 1982 with a year at KPMG, Wauthier joined the French ministry of foreign affairs and returned to Africa as assistant manager for cultural and technical cooperation affairs at the French embassy in Khartoum, Sudan.

He returned to Paris in 1985 and joined JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), where he worked in investment banking for French financial institutions, and in 1994 moved to London with responsibility for the bank’s insurance product group. In late 1996, Zurich Insurance hired him as the corporate credit and investment risk manager, a newly established position with responsibility for controlling and evaluating the company’s credit risks.

‘Expat Life’

Wauthier served as the head of investor relations between 1999 and 2002, before taking the CFO job at the company’s Los Angeles-based unit Farmers Group Inc., where he stayed until late 2007.

“We were leading the expat life, moving around a lot and living in different countries, and you really rely on each other,” Fabienne Wauthier said, adding that there were “no problems” within the family.

They bought the former hotel and restaurant Loewen, in Walchwil, Switzerland, on the eastern shore of Lake Zug, with plans to renovate it. They were given permission to renovate the façade, remodel existing spaces and build extensions in 2011 and again this year, according to the municipality’s records.

The town, with just over 3,500 residents and about a 45-minute drive from Zurich, describes itself as an “oasis of relaxation.” The area, popular with expatriates because its income taxes are among the lowest in the canton, also has properties of Fiat SpA CEO Sergio Marchionne and German Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel.

‘Great Dad’

Wauthier earned about 3 million francs ($3.2 million) in compensation last year, according to a person with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified because the company doesn’t disclose the information. He remained approachable and attentive to his subordinates, according to former colleagues.

Wauthier was a runner and a triathlete as well as “a great rock ’n’ roll dancer,” according to his widow. He registered for a half-marathon in Switzerland in each of the past four years, according to Datasport, the main service provider and data manager for sporting events.

“He was a great dad,” Wauthier’s daughter Laura said by phone. “He wasn’t always home, but when he was home he was a great dad.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Elena Logutenkova in Zurich at elogutenkova@bloomberg.net Carolyn Bandel in Zurich at cbandel@bloomberg.net


Former Zurich Insurance Chairman Josef Ackermann’s abrupt departure after the suicide sent the company’s shares down as much as 3.8 percent on Aug. 29 and sparked doubts about Zurich Insurance’s financial health after it missed analysts’ profit estimates in three of the past four quarters and announced a surprise write-off in October

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-05/wauthier-s-life-is-in-spotlight-after-ackermann-exits.html
 


Finance chief Pierre Wauthier's suicide note implicates ex-chairman Josef Ackermann, says Zurich Insurance
The former chief financial officer of Zurich Insurance left a suicide note implicating the group's then chairman Josef Ackermann in his death, the insurer said this morning.
Josef Ackermann, the Deutsche Bank chairman and IIF head, said warned that measure to stabilize domestic financial institutions have had the unintended consequence of being protectionist.
Josef Ackermann said he had "reasons to believe that the family is of the opinion that I should take my share of responsibility"
Alistair Osborne

By Alistair Osborne, Business Editor

9:32AM BST 30 Aug 2013

Zurich confirmed the existence of the note after Mr Ackermann dramatically quit on Thursday in the wake of the death of Pierre Wauthier, saying he had “reasons to believe that the family is of the opinion that I should take my share of responsibility”.

In a conference call aimed at reassuring investors, Zurich’s stand-in chairman Tom de Swaan acknowledged that there had been frenzied media speculation over whether there had been a “letter left” by Mr Wauthier.

“We were informed that such a letter exists and we are aware of its contents,” he said. “It is correct that it relates to the relationship between Pierre Wauthier and Josef Ackermann.”

Mr de Swaan said: “It would be inappropriate for me to elaborate on it. It's a very difficult situation especially for the family and friends of Pierre Wauthier and we all need to respect their privacy during this difficult time. We all deeply regret his passing which was completely unexpected.”

Announcing an internal investigation, he said “the board sees it as its prime responsibility to look into the question of whether there was undue pressure placed on our cfo. Let me be absolutely clear, the board and management of Zurich take corporate culture and behaviour very seriously.”
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Mr Wauthier, 53, who was married with two children, was found dead on Monday at his home in a lakefront suburb of Zug outside Zurich. On Tuesday police said he appeared to have taken his own life.

His widow, Fabienne Wauthier, is said to have accused Zurich’s management of driving her husband “into a corner” and that Mr Ackermann’s “tough management style” had put Mr Wauthier under insufferable pressure.

Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger reported that, in his suicide note, Wauthier made allegations against Mr Ackermann and said he could not handle his criticism.

Mr de Swaan said Mr Wauthier‘s death had cast a “shadow“ over the company but stressed: “From my own personal perspective I am not aware of any behaviour that would be inappropriate in a board setting. The Zurich management team has the board's full support and we fully recognise that the recent developments have been extremely unsettling and our focus is on ensuring the continued stability of the company.”

He added: “The board is well aware of the need to strengthen the management team and I consider this to be our top priority.”

Mr Ackermann, 65, took over as chairman of Zurich in March last year after a decade at the helm of Deutsche Bank, steering Germany’s biggest lender through the financial crisis.

He has a reputation for being a hard task master, with reports suggesting he had come in to “shake up” Zurich. One insider was quoted, saying: “Ackermann did not became chairman at Zurich in order not to change anything.”

In his statement on Thursday, he appeared to deny that he had placed Mr Wauthier under intolerable pressure, saying that, whatever allegations the family was making, they were “unfounded”.

Results have disappointed, however, with the most recent quarter showing an 18pc drop in profits, while there has been a high turnover of senior staff.

Zurich’s chief executive Martin Senn insisted this morning that there were no financial issues or irregularities at the company that could have triggered the death of Mr Wauthier, who he considered a “terrific colleague”.

“There is no link between this news and Zurich’s business performance or results,” Mr Senn told analysts.

“The results were somewhat mixed but we continue to be profitable,” he said, adding: “We have a strong and resilient balance sheet.”

Mr Wauthier is the second top executive of a Swiss company to have committed suicide in the past five weeks, following the death of Swisscom’s 49-year-old chief executive Carsten Schloter.

---------------------------

Finance chief Pierre Wauthier's suicide note implicates ex-chairman Josef Ackermann, says Zurich Insurance
The former chief financial officer of Zurich Insurance left a suicide note implicating the group's then chairman Josef Ackermann in his death, the insurer said this morning.
Josef Ackermann, the Deutsche Bank chairman and IIF head, said warned that measure to stabilize domestic financial institutions have had the unintended consequence of being protectionist.
Josef Ackermann said he had "reasons to believe that the family is of the opinion that I should take my share of responsibility"
Alistair Osborne

By Alistair Osborne, Business Editor

9:32AM BST 30 Aug 2013

Zurich confirmed the existence of the note after Mr Ackermann dramatically quit on Thursday in the wake of the death of Pierre Wauthier, saying he had “reasons to believe that the family is of the opinion that I should take my share of responsibility”.

In a conference call aimed at reassuring investors, Zurich’s stand-in chairman Tom de Swaan acknowledged that there had been frenzied media speculation over whether there had been a “letter left” by Mr Wauthier.

“We were informed that such a letter exists and we are aware of its contents,” he said. “It is correct that it relates to the relationship between Pierre Wauthier and Josef Ackermann.”

Mr de Swaan said: “It would be inappropriate for me to elaborate on it. It's a very difficult situation especially for the family and friends of Pierre Wauthier and we all need to respect their privacy during this difficult time. We all deeply regret his passing which was completely unexpected.”

Announcing an internal investigation, he said “the board sees it as its prime responsibility to look into the question of whether there was undue pressure placed on our cfo. Let me be absolutely clear, the board and management of Zurich take corporate culture and behaviour very seriously.”
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Mr Wauthier, 53, who was married with two children, was found dead on Monday at his home in a lakefront suburb of Zug outside Zurich. On Tuesday police said he appeared to have taken his own life.

His widow, Fabienne Wauthier, is said to have accused Zurich’s management of driving her husband “into a corner” and that Mr Ackermann’s “tough management style” had put Mr Wauthier under insufferable pressure.

Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger reported that, in his suicide note, Wauthier made allegations against Mr Ackermann and said he could not handle his criticism.

Mr de Swaan said Mr Wauthier‘s death had cast a “shadow“ over the company but stressed: “From my own personal perspective I am not aware of any behaviour that would be inappropriate in a board setting. The Zurich management team has the board's full support and we fully recognise that the recent developments have been extremely unsettling and our focus is on ensuring the continued stability of the company.”

He added: “The board is well aware of the need to strengthen the management team and I consider this to be our top priority.”

Mr Ackermann, 65, took over as chairman of Zurich in March last year after a decade at the helm of Deutsche Bank, steering Germany’s biggest lender through the financial crisis.

He has a reputation for being a hard task master, with reports suggesting he had come in to “shake up” Zurich. One insider was quoted, saying: “Ackermann did not became chairman at Zurich in order not to change anything.”

In his statement on Thursday, he appeared to deny that he had placed Mr Wauthier under intolerable pressure, saying that, whatever allegations the family was making, they were “unfounded”.

Results have disappointed, however, with the most recent quarter showing an 18pc drop in profits, while there has been a high turnover of senior staff.

Zurich’s chief executive Martin Senn insisted this morning that there were no financial issues or irregularities at the company that could have triggered the death of Mr Wauthier, who he considered a “terrific colleague”.

“There is no link between this news and Zurich’s business performance or results,” Mr Senn told analysts.

“The results were somewhat mixed but we continue to be profitable,” he said, adding: “We have a strong and resilient balance sheet.”

Mr Wauthier is the second top executive of a Swiss company to have committed suicide in the past five weeks, following the death of Swisscom’s 49-year-old chief executive Carsten Schloter.
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Pierre Wauthier Widow: 'I Overestimated How Important Family Was to Him'

Sean Martin
By Sean Martin
April 11, 2014 10:58 BST

Fabienne Wauthier has said that she “overestimated” the importance of family to Pierre.
Fabienne Wauthier has said that she “overestimated” the importance of family to Pierre.Reuters

The widow of Pierre Wauthier, Zurich Insurance's chief financial officer who committed suicide last year, has said that she "overestimated" the importance of the family to him.
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In an interview with the Evening Standard, Fabienne Wauthier said that Pierre left his family "in so much pain" and she still can't make sense of it.

In his suicide note, Pierre is said to reference a difficult working relationship with Joseph Ackermann, chairman of Zurich Insurance, and the mounting stress that he was under.

"The problem is that I didn't underestimate the pressure he was under at work; I overestimated how important his family was to him," Fabienne Wauthier told the Evening Standard.

Fabienne went on to describe the demands of the role: "Usually he had seven hours' sleep and the rest of the time it was BlackBerry in one hand, laptop in the other. We weren't necessarily happy that he was sacrificing family time for work but we respected his decision because it was not profit-orientated. He had a long-term ambition to make the company better."
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Zurich CFO Pierre Wauthier's Widow to Confront Firm's AGM Over Suicide
Josef Ackermann Quitting Siemens Board Weeks After Zurich Resignation Over Pierre Wauthier Suicide
Pierre Wauthier Suicide: Why did Josef Ackermann Resign from Zurich?
Pierre Wauthier Suicide: Josef Ackermann Quit Zurich as Widow Planned to Read Final Letter at Funeral

Pierre had alerted the human resources department in the July before his death that he was under stress, but Fabienne says that this was not encouraging for him.

"It did not reassure him. A lot of expectations, and how to defend the CEO's vision of company strategy, were heaped on him.

"What had changed was that they had a new chairman who wanted to rapidly turn Zurich into a very profitable and attractive company for shareholders. This was at odds with Pierre's belief in the social role of an insurer.

"In November 2012 the pressure started to build up but it got worse. June was rather difficult, July was even worse and August was apparently unbearable."

The Evening Standard spoke to Zurich Insurance regarding the stress that Wauthier was said to be under and responded: "A comprehensive review was conducted [into Wauthier's death], directed by Finma, and found no indication of any undue pressure."

Joseph Ackermann resigned as Chairman of Zurich Insurance shortly after the death of Pierre.

He said at the time "I have reasons to believe that the family is of the opinion that I should take my share of responsibility, as unfounded as any allegations might be," he said, adding that he was trying "to avoid any damage to Zurich's reputation".
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/pierre-wauthier-widow-i-overestimated-how-important-family-was-him-1444365

Josef Ackermann Quitting Siemens Board Weeks After Zurich Resignation Over Pierre Wauthier Suicide

Shane Croucher
By Shane Croucher
Updated

Josef Ackermann
Josef Ackermann also quit his role on the Zurich board following the suicide of Pierre Wauthier (Reuters)

Embattled Josef Ackermann is reportedly on the verge of stepping down from the Siemens board just weeks after resigning as chairman of Zurich Insurance Group in the wake of late Chief Financial Offer Pierre Wauthier's suicide.
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Ackermann, who is a former chief executive of Deutsche Bank, is on the verge of quitting his deputy chairman role at German engineering giant Siemens, an anonymous source with knowledge of the situation told Reuters. Neither Ackermann nor Siemens commented.

He left the board of insurer Zurich in August after his colleague Wauthier's suicide, which has been linked to the pair's fraught working relationship after it was referenced in the CFO's final note before he took his life.

The banker, who was once one of world's most influential financiers, released a resignation statement saying that he believed Wauthier's family held him partly responsible for the suicide, though he dismissed any allegations as "unfounded".

Separate reports in the Swiss press, citing sources who have purportedly read the suicide note, suggest Wauthier had written that it was difficult to work with Ackermann, including one incident of a "particularly hurtful" conversation between the two men.

After Ackermann's resignation, Zurich bosses launched an internal investigation to see if Wauthier had been placed under any "undue pressure" ahead of his tragic death.

"Let me be absolutely clear, we, meaning the board and management of Zurich, take corporate culture and behaviour very seriously," said Tom de Swaan, acting chairman at Zurich when he announced the probe in a conference call with concerned investors.

"In addition, from my own personal perspective, I am not aware of any behaviour that would be considered inappropriate in a board setting."

When quitting, Ackermann said he was trying "to avoid any damage to Zurich's reputation".

"I have reasons to believe that the family is of the opinion that I should take my share of responsibility, as unfounded as any allegations might be," he said, adding that the death of Wauthier has "shocked" him.

Ackermann remains on the boards of Royal Dutch Shell and Investor AB.
This article was first published on September 12, 2013

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/josef-ackermann-siemens-zurich-insurance-pierre-wauthier-505582
 



Queen Elizabeth II

Zurich Insurance chairman quits after CFO suicide
by Mark Thompson @MarkThompsonCNN August 30, 2013: 5:49 AM ET
josef ackermann
The chairman of Zurich Insurance, Josef Ackermann, resigned from his post after the apparent suicide of the company's CFO.
Josef Ackermann, one of Europe's best known bankers, resigned as chairman of Zurich Insurance Thursday, following the apparent suicide of the Swiss company's finance chief.

Pierre Wauthier, who had been CFO since October 2011, was found dead at his home in Switzerland Monday. A preliminary forensic report and evidence found at the scene suggested he had committed suicide, according to a police report. No motive was given.

Wauthier had dual British and French citizenship, and had been with the firm since 1996.

Ackermann, who was CEO of Deutsche Bank (DB) for a decade, resigned from the insurer's board after little more than a year in the role, saying he was "deeply shocked" and hinted that Wauthier's family was linking his death to work issues.

"I have reasons to believe that the family is of the opinion that I should take my share of responsibility, as unfounded as any allegations might be," Ackermann said in a statement released by Zurich Insurance. (ZFSVF) "To avoid any damage to Zurich's reputation, I have decided to resign from all my board functions with immediate effect."

Related: Bank of America intern dies in London

Wauthier's death is the second to rock Switzerland's corporate world in as many months. Carsten Schloter, CEO of Swisscom (SCMWY), was found dead in late July in a case police also assumed was suicide.

In an interview with Schweiz am Sonntag in May, Schloter gave insight into the stress that can come from being unable to switch off in a world of constant communications.

"I notice that I have great difficulty getting some rest," he was quoted as saying.

Ackermann is a Swiss national and serves as a non-executive director of major European companies, including Siemens (SI) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA). He was chairman of global bank lobby group Institute of International Finance, and is a leading figure in the World Economic Forum, which hosts the annual Davos conference.

He will be replaced on an interim basis by Zurich Insurance vice chairman Tom de Swaan.

The firm, which employs about 60,000 people, provides general insurance and life insurance products to customers in more than 170 countries.


http://money.cnn.com/2013/08/29/news/companies/ackermann-zurich-suicide/index.html
 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/10275450/Finance-chief-Pierre-Wauthiers-suicide-note-implicates-ex-chairman-Josef-Ackermann-says-Zurich-Insurance.html