Zurich Insurance’s Wauthier Committed Suicide, Police Say

Pierre Wauthier, chief financial officer of Zurich Insurance Group AG (ZURN), probably committed suicide at his home, according to police. He was 53.

An autopsy to determine the cause of death “clearly pointed to a suicide,” Marcel Schlatter, a police spokesman for the canton of Zug, Switzerland, where Wauthier lived and was found dead yesterday, said by telephone today. He declined to disclose further details out of consideration for the family.

Wauthier is the second top Swiss executive in five weeks to have taken his life after Carsten Schloter, 49, chief executive officer for Swisscom AG (SCMN), Switzerland’s biggest phone company, was found dead at his home on July 23. Wauthier, a married father of two, was appointed CFO at Switzerland’s largest insurer in September 2011 after previous roles as group treasurer and head of centrally managed businesses.

“The board of directors, group executive committee and all of our colleagues are deeply saddened and pass on our condolences to the family and relatives,” Chief Executive Officer Martin Senn said in a statement yesterday.

Schlatter said that Wauthier lived in Walchwil, a municipality on the eastern shore of Lake Zug. The citizen of Britain and France had joined Zurich Insurance in 1996. Vibhu Sharma, group controller, will take over as CFO on an interim basis, according Zurich Insurance.

Wauthier, who held a master’s degree in international finance from l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales and a Masters in private law from the Sorbonne University in Paris, began his career at KPMG in 1982, according to Zurich Insurance’s website. He worked for two years at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and joined JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) in 1985, before taking on the job at Zurich Insurance.

Zurich Insurance, based in Zurich, said on Aug. 15 that floods in central Europe and tornadoes in the U.S. contributed to a 27 percent decline in second-quarter net income to $789 million, missing analysts’ estimates.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elena Logutenkova in Zurich at elogutenkova@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net

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