Former Zurich boss Martin Senn commits suicide

Martin Senn, former chief executive of Zurich Insurance, has killed himself, the company said — the second suicide by former top level management at the firm in the last three years.

Senn, aged 59, committed suicide at his holiday home in Klosters, Switzerland. His shock death follows the suicide of former colleague at Zurich Insurance, Pierre Gauthier, who also took his own life in 2013.

The death of Gauthier, who was chief financial officer at the firm, was investigated by both the firm and the Swiss financial regulator, after he left behind a note blaming former chairman Josef Ackermann for creating an unbearably stressful work environment.

Senn’s shock suicide comes less than six months after standing down as CEO at the firm.

A Swiss national and former executive at Credit Suisse Group AG, Senn joined Zurich Insurance as chief investment officer in 2006 and assumed the CEO role in 2010. He previously worked at UBS in Asia, where he met his wife, a violinist.

His exit from Zurich Insurance in December 2015, followed a difficult period for the company. At the time of leaving the firm after what Senn called “ten very intense years”, it followed the company’s failure to seal the acquisition of UK’s RSA Insurance Group.

 ‘Great shock and sadness’

A statement on Zurich’s website said: “It is with great shock and sadness that we must inform you of the sudden death of Martin Senn. His family informed us that Martin took his life last Friday.

“With the passing of Martin, we lose 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.”

2013 suicide investigated

In the 2013 suicide, Senn’s former colleague and CIO Wauthier left behind a note blaming former Zurich Insurance chairman Josef Ackermann for creating an unbearably stressful work environment.

Ackermann, a onetime CEO of Deutsche Bank, rejected any blame for Wauthier’s death but said that he resigned to avoid damage to Zurich’s reputation.

In November 2013, Zurich Insurance announced that its internal investigation found no indication that Wauthier had been subjected to “undue pressure” by the insurer’s top level management.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Robinson
Deputy Editor, International Investment and Head of Video at Open Door Media Publishing. A fully qualified journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years' financial services experience, both as journalist and originally as an IFA.

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