November 4, 2013 / 6:54 AM / 6 years ago

Zurich reviews uncover no undue pressure on Wauthier

The logo of Zurich Insurance Group is seen at the company's headquarters in Zurich September 2, 2013. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

ZURICH (Reuters) - Zurich Insurance ZURN.VX said on Monday its finance chief Pierre Wauthier was not subjected to “undue pressure” before he committed suicide and its chairman admitted he was unable to explain the motivation for his tragic decision.

Offering conclusions of an investigation into Wauthier’s death, the insurer hopes to draw a line under a rocky two months after the 53-year-old finance chief wrote a suicide note saying the then chairman Josef Ackermann had put him under pressure.

“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 of the board of directors, Tom de Swaan, said in a statement on Monday.

Ackermann, the former head of Deutsche Bank <DBKGn.DE, denied putting pressure on Wauthier but resigned days after his death, saying later it would not have been possible to carry out his duties as chairman with the “required resolve”.

Two independent investigations conducted by the Swiss financial market watchdog FINMA into the suicide found “no indication that Pierre Wauthier was subjected to any undue or inappropriate pressure,” Zurich said.

Two sources familiar with the situation said on Friday that auditing firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Zurich securities law firm Homburger had conducted interviews and scoured scores of emails and other correspondence for evidence that Wauthier was placed under undue stress at work.

Sources have told Reuters that Ackermann clashed with Wauthier in the run-up to second-quarter earnings and that in a meeting in mid-August, a day before the release of those results, Ackermann insisted that Wauthier make changes to the result presentation, leading Zurich to signal a lack of progress on business targets.

Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz; Editing by Elizabeth Piper and Louise Heavens

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