Widow of Zurich CFO rejects suicide report

Pierre Wauthier's daughter, mother, brother and widow take to the stage at Zurich Insurance’s annual shareholder meeting Keystone

The widow and other family members of Zurich Insurance’s late finance chief, Pierre Wauthier, have said at the firm’s annual shareholder meeting that they could not accept the results of a probe into his suicide which exonerated the firm and its former chairman of responsibility.

This content was published on April 2, 2014 - 17:32 and agencies

“We cannot accept your conclusion that his suicide was unaccountable,” Fabienne Wauthier told the packed hall on Wednesday. She was joined on stage by her daughter and the mother and brother of her late husband Pierre.

Wauthier’s brother added: “It was not normal pressure at the office that led to his suicide.”

Pierre Wauthier killed himself last August, leaving behind a suicide note in which he described himself as demoralised because of a new, aggressive tone at Zurich under then-chairman Josef Ackermann.

Ackermann stepped down several days later, but has denied responsibility for what he called a “very tragic event”. He declined to comment through a spokesman on Wednesday.

An investigation into Wauthier’s death, commissioned by Switzerland’s financial regulator FINMA and conducted by law firm Homburger, found “no indication that the CFO was subjected to any undue or inappropriate pressure”, Zurich said in November.

Before Fabienne Wauthier spoke, Zurich Chairman Tom de Swaan defended the probe, saying it had been conducted “carefully and conclusively”.

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