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Martin Senn, the CEO of Zurich Insurance Group until December, committed suicide on Friday (May 27). The 59-year-old was found dead from a gun shot wound at his vacation home in Klosters, according to Blick, the Swiss newspaper.
He is the second high-ranking executive with ties to the Swiss insurance giant to kill himself in the last three years. His death follows the 2013 suicide of Pierre Wauthier, who was the company’s CFO. Wauthier left a note blaming stresses caused by Zurich’s then-chairman, former Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann, who resigned his post at Zurich following Wauthier’s death. Ackermann had a reputation as a hard-charging executive who tried to bring US-style accountability to the European financial world. An investigation by Zurich and Swiss regulators found that Wauthier was not under unusual pressures.
Founded in 1872, Zurich Insurance is Switzerland’s fourth-largest company, with 55,000 employees and $68 billion in annual revenues.
There’s no obvious connection between the deaths of Senn and Wauthier, other than the fact that the two men shared an employer. Senn served as CEO from 2010 until last year, when he resigned citing “setbacks,” including a failed acquisition of RSA Insurance Group. Martin Greco, a veteran insurance executive, has been CEO since March.
Zurich posted a short statement on its website regarding Senn’s death:
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. Out of respect to Martin and to his family, we will not be making any further comment.