Zurich Insurance Group officials confirmed today that Josef Ackermann stepped down as chairman of the company after learning that Chief Financial Officer Pierre Wauthier mentioned him in his suicide note.
Wauthier had been finance chief since 2011
The company confirmed the justification of Ackermann’s decision in a conference call covered by Bloomberg Television and in a statement.
“We were informed that such a letter exists and we are aware of its content. It is correct that it relates to the relationship between Pierre Wauthier and Josef Ackermann but it would be inappropriate for us to further elaborate on it,” the company said.
“It is a very difficult situation, especially for the families and friends of Pierre Wauthier. We all need to respect their privacy during this difficult time and we deeply regret his passing, which was completely unexpected,” the company added.
Ackermann guided German’s Deutsche Bank as CEO during the financial crisis. He served 10 years in that position.
Ackermann said yesterday he was stepping down after members of Wauthier’s family accused him of sharing responsibility for the death. The 65-year-old Swiss national called the allegations “unfounded.”