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No 'undue pressure' exerted on Zurich CFO prior to death: FINMA

Posted On: Nov. 4, 2013 12:00 AM CST

No 'undue pressure' exerted on Zurich CFO prior to death: FINMA

Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. on Monday said two reports conducted by the Swiss financial regulator have found that the company did not exert “undue pressure” on its chief financial officer, Pierre Wauthier, who committed suicide in August.

The Bern, Switzerland-based Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, known as FINMA, directed two independent investigations after the suicide of Mr. Wauthier to determine whether Zurich had placed him under undue pressure and whether there had been any irregularities in the company's financial reporting.

In the wake of Mr. Wauthier's death, Josef Ackermann, then chairman of the board of Zurich, resigned after the company was made aware of a suicide note which referred to the relationship between Messrs. Ackermann and Wauthier.

FINMA investigated whether Mr. Wauthier had been subjected to any undue pressure by the chairman of the board or any other decision-maker at Zurich, “the manner, extent and timing of which could have supported the conclusion that Zurich was improperly managed.”

Zurich said in a statement Monday that the investigation had not shown that Mr. Wauthier had been placed under inappropriate pressure or that the company had been improperly managed.

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

A second investigation found that there were no irregularities in Zurich's financial reporting.