Zurich Insurance Group AG (ZURN) named Tom de Swaan chairman, replacing Josef Ackermann, who stepped down after the suicide of Chief Financial Officer Pierre Wauthier.
Fred Kindle, 54, chairman of Exova Holdings Ltd. and former chief executive officer of ABB Ltd. (ABBN), was appointed vice chairman, the Zurich-based company said in a statement today. De Swaan, 67, took over as interim chairman after Ackermann, 65, left Switzerland’s largest insurer on Aug. 29.
“Given they still need to find a new CFO, it’s certainly helpful to have some continuity in the chairman’s role,” said Peter Eliot, a London-based analyst at Berenberg Bank with a buy rating on Zurich Insurance’s shares.
Wauthier, who was found dead on Aug. 26 at his home near Zug, Switzerland, mentioned Ackermann in a suicide note. The former CEO of Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) called the allegations from the family that he bore some responsibility for the suicide “unfounded. Zurich Insurance has since said it’s looking into whether undue pressure was placed on the CFO.
Zurich Insurance needs to use the lessons learned ‘‘to build a stronger future,’’ de Swaan said on Sept. 6 at a memorial service in Zurich for the married father of two.
Ackermann is also preparing to step down as vice chairman of the supervisory board of Siemens AG (SIE), Europe’s largest engineering company, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported in a preview of an article to be published tomorrow, without saying where it obtained the information.
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