August 27, 2013 / 3:02 PM / in 4 years

Death of Zurich CFO likely a suicide: Swiss police

ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss police said the death of Zurich Insurance ZURN.VX finance chief Pierre Wauthier appeared to be a suicide, the second top executive in Switzerland to take his own life in five weeks.

Wauthier, a French-British citizen and 17-year veteran of the insurer, was found dead at his home in a lakeside suburb of Zug, close to Zurich, on Monday.

“Based on the forensic institute’s initial findings and evidence at his home, we can say the death of Pierre Wauthier is likely to be a suicide,” Zug police spokesman Marcel Schlatter said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

The police said it would not divulge further details out of respect for Wauthier’s wife and two children.

His death comes only weeks after Swisscom SCMN.VX chief executive Carsten Schloter was found dead at his home in what police said was an apparent suicide.

Wauthier’s death rattled the insurance sector in Switzerland. A spokesman for Zurich, Europe’s third-largest insurer by market capitalization, declined to comment on whether Wauthier’s death was in any way linked to the insurer’s business.

Earlier this month, Zurich said it would be hard pressed to meet certain performance targets after posting a 27 percent fall in second-quarter net profit due to natural disaster payouts, which topped those of European rivals because of its high exposure to the United States.

Wauthier worked at the French foreign ministry and U.S. investment bank JPMorgan (JPM.N) before joining Zurich in 1996.

He served in various roles at the Swiss insurer, including as head of investor relations and finance chief at U.S. unit Farmers before becoming CFO in 2011.

Reporting By Katharina Bart and Oliver Hirt Writing by Katharina Bart; Editing by Louise Heavens

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