* Zurich says report finds no "undue pressure" put on CFO
* Zurich says second report backs presentation of financials
* Investigations initiated and overseen by Swiss regulator
* Review into suicide clears Josef Ackermann
By Alice Baghdjian and Paul Arnold
ZURICH, Nov 4 Zurich Insurance finance
chief Pierre Wauthier did not come under "undue pressure" before
his suicide, the firm said on Monday, citing results of an
investigation into his death that it hopes will wrap up the
scandal before earnings next week.
The findings of the investigation, initiated and overseen by
Switzerland's financial market watchdog, appear to lift any
blame from Zurich's high-profile former chairman Josef
Ackermann, a previous boss of Deutsche Bank.
Zurich, which has championed a "boring" image in recent
years, was shaken by the death of 53-year-old chief financial
officer (CFO) Wauthier in August and the subsequent resignation
of Ackermann. Wauthier blamed Ackermann in a suicide note for
putting him under pressure, a source said.
Switzerland's FINMA watchdog found "no indication that the
CFO was subjected to any undue or inappropriate pressure" by the
chairman or any other decision maker, Zurich said on Monday.
The results confirm a report by Reuters on Friday.
A separate review into the presentation of Zurich's
financial figures, begun by the Swiss regulator and conducted by
auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers - Zurich's regular auditor
- found their presentation to be "appropriate", the firm added.
"We are still deeply saddened by the loss of Pierre Wauthier
and we are unable to explain the motivation behind his tragic
decision," Zurich's chairman Tom de Swaan said in a statement.
The Swiss insurer has been keen to put an end to speculation
about the suicide and the presentation of financial figures
before its third-quarter results on Nov. 14 and an update for
investors on Dec. 5 on targets the firm will likely miss, though
analysts said the findings of the reports were largely expected.
"Investors will be looking for a set of clean figures in the
third quarter after a number of quarterly disappointments of
one-off negative items, and that's what is needed to regain
confidence," said Daniel Bischof, an analyst at Helvea.
Zurich's shares fell 9 percent in the two weeks following
its second-quarter earnings, but have since recovered. They were
little changed by Monday's announcement, trading at 251.3 Swiss
francs by 1250 GMT.
Conducted by securities law firm Homburger, the review into
Wauthier's death involved evaluating documents and
correspondence, as well as interviewing colleagues, Zurich said.
Wauthier's widow said she was not aware of the report's
findings when contacted by Reuters on Monday.
Zurich declined to comment on whether the Wauthier family
had been informed of the findings or had received a copy of the
report, saying it was a confidential matter.
At the time of his resignation, Ackermann denied putting
pressure on Wauthier, but said later it would not have been
possible to carry out his duties as chairman with the "required
A source familiar with the situation told Reuters on Monday
the full reports would not be made public.
Sources have told Reuters that Ackermann clashed with
Wauthier in the run-up to second-quarter earnings, when the
company said meeting three-year targets for its general
insurance and U.S. business Farmers, which include goals for
profitability and costs, would be "challenging".
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.