THE CHAIRMAN of insurance firm Zurich shocked the company by resigning yesterday in the wake of chief financial officer Pierre Wauthier’s apparent suicide.
Josef Ackermann has given up all board duties with immediate effect, saying in a statement that “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”.
Wauthier’s wife declined to comment when contacted by phone yesterday and the company did not expand on the allegations.
Vice-chairman Tom de Swaan will take over Ackermann’s responsibilities in the role of acting chairman, and Zurich is set to host an analyst call today to discuss the situation.
It is understood that Ackermann, the former boss of Deutsche Bank, took the decision to resign himself without being asked to do so.
Police in Switzerland said on Tuesday that Wauthier, who was found dead at his home in a lakefront suburb of Zug on Monday, appeared to have taken his own life.
Zurich’s chief executive Martin Senn told Swiss TV yesterday that he was not aware of “any conflicts that could or should have led to such a death”.