Former Zurich Insurance chief Martin Senn commits suicide: Company

Zurich Insurance's former chief executive Martin Senn at the company's annual news conference in Zurich, Switzerland, on Feb 12, 2015.
Zurich Insurance's former chief executive Martin Senn at the company's annual news conference in Zurich, Switzerland, on Feb 12, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

ZURICH (AFP) - The former head of Zurich Insurance Group, Mr Martin Senn, has committed suicide, the company said on Monday (May 30), nearly three years after the company's chief financial officer took his own life.

"It is with great shock and sadness that we must inform you of the sudden death of Martin Senn," the company said of the 59-year-old who served as chief executive from 2010 until last December.

"His family informed us that Martin took his life last Friday," it said, lamenting the loss of "not only a highly valued former CEO and colleague but also a close friend".

"Our thoughts are with his bereaved family and friends, to whom we extend our deepest sympathies," the company said, adding it would provide no further comments on the tragedy out of respect for Mr Senn and his family.

Mr Senn's suicide comes nearly three years after Zurich Insurance's finance chief Pierre Wauthier killed himself in August 2013, prompting a shake-up at Switzerland's largest insurance provider.

The company's powerful chairman at the time, former head of Deutsche Bank Josef Ackermann, resigned just days after Mr Wauthier was found dead amid speculation that the two had fallen out over the group's accounts.

Mr Ackermann said he had decided to quit because he had reasons to believe that Mr Wauthier's family felt he should take a share of the responsiblity, though he underlined that any allegations were unfounded.

Two independent probes meanwhile concluded that Mr Wauthier, a 53-year-old French and British citizen who had served as CFO since 2011, had not been subjected to any "undue or inappropriate pressure", and that "the financial figures were confirmed as appropriate", the insurer said later.