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UPDATE 1-Zurich poaches Swiss Re CFO to replace dead finance chief
December 16, 2013 / 6:10 PM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Zurich poaches Swiss Re CFO to replace dead finance chief

* Swiss Re’s Quinn to move to Zurich in May

* Interim Zurich CFO Sharma goes back to controller role (Adds statement from Swiss Re)

ZURICH, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Swiss Re finance chief George Quinn is to take on the same role at larger rival Zurich Insurance following the suicide in August of Zurich’s CFO Pierre Wauthier.

British citizen Quinn, a 14-year veteran of reinsurer Swiss Re, joins a company still shaken by the death of Wauthier, which prompted Zurich’s chairman Josef Ackermann to quit shortly afterwards.

The 47-year-old Quinn, who takes over in May, will still attend Swiss Re’s fourth-quarter earnings presentation on Feb. 20, a spokesman for the reinsurer said. Swiss Re said it “very much” regretted Quinn’s departure.

In a suicide note, Wauthier wrote of a more aggressive atmosphere at Zurich under Ackermann that had left him demoralised, according to several people who said they saw the note.

The insurer conducted a review that found Wauthier did not come under “undue pressure” before his death. Ackermann, a previous head of Deutsche Bank, rejected the idea that his actions may have caused Wauthier to take his life.

Zurich said Vibhu Sharma, who had been acting as the insurer’s CFO following the death of Wauthier in August, will go back to his role as a controller when Quinn arrives in May.

Earlier this month, Zurich lowered its target for return on equity (RoE) of 12 to 14 percent through 2016, from 16 percent, but promised to keep paying an attractive dividend over the next three years as it invests in more profitable areas and sells underperforming business lines. (Reporting By Katharina Bart; additional reporting by Paul Arnold; editing by Tom Pfeiffer)

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