(Adds detail from speeches)
ZURICH, April 2 The widow of Zurich Insurance's
late finance chief on Wednesday rejected a report into
his suicide, telling the Swiss company's annual shareholder
meeting she could not accept the findings of an investigation
into his death.
Zurich Insurance defended the report into Pierre Wauthier's
suicide, deflecting criticism by the CFO's widow and his family
members, who also spoke at the meeting.
Fabienne Wauthier, dressed in black, said her family could
not accept the results of probe, which exonerated the insurer
and its former chairman Josef Ackermann of responsibility.
"We cannot accept your conclusion that his suicide was
unaccountable," Wauthier told the packed meeting.
Her criticisms serve as a painful reminder of Wauthier's
death for the 142-year old Swiss company, that has spent the
last seven months trying to reassure investors and move on.
Wauthier killed himself last August, leaving behind a
suicide note in which he described himself as demoralised
because of a new, aggressive tone at Zurich under then-chairman
Ackermann stepped down several days later, but has denied
responsibility for what he called a "very tragic event". He
declined to comment through a spokesman on Wednesday.
An investigation into Wauthier's death, commissioned by
Switzerland's financial regulator FINMA and conducted by law
firm Homburger, found no indication that the CFO was subjected
to any undue or inappropriate pressure, Zurich said in November.
Wauthier was joined on the podium at the annual meeting by
her daughter Laura and the mother and brother of her late
Wauthier and Pierre's mother Ingrid, at times fighting to
control their emotions, took turns to read from a statement.
Pierre's brother Michel, who also spoke, said: "It was not
normal pressure at the office that led to his suicide."
Wauthier, who is French, also said she was returning her
husband's laptop, which she said had not been examined by
She had also spoken of her concerns about the review into
her husband's death in an interview with Reuters.
Zurich Chairman Tom de Swaan paused for several seconds at
the podium before repeating that the insurer had no indication
Wauthier would commit suicide, and defending what he called a
comprehensive review into whether the CFO had come under any
"The FINMA-led investigation found no indication of any such
pressure," de Swaan said.
De Swaan, who assumed the role of chairman in September
after Ackermann's resignation, was re-elected by 89.7 percent of
shareholders in a vote at the meeting.
The work of the company's board and management in 2013 was
also approved by shareholders, garnering 98.8 percent of votes.
(Reporting by Alice Baghdjian, Katharina Bart and Paul Arnold;
Editing by Noah Barkin and Jane Merriman)