Josef Ackermann, the chairman of Zurich Insurance Group, has resigned after indicating that he felt pressured to take part of the responsibility for the apparent suicide of Chief Financial Officer Pierre Wauthier, the firm announced on Thursday.
"The unexpected death of Pierre Wauthier has deeply shocked me. I have reasons to believe that the family is of the opinion that I should take my share of responsibility, as unfounded as any allegations might be," Ackermann said in a statement.
"As a consequence, I see the possibility of a continued successful Board leadership to the benefit of Zurich called into question. To avoid any damage to Zurich's reputation, I have decided to resign from all my Board functions with immediate effect."
(Read More: Zurich Insurance CFO Pierre Wauthier found dead)
Ackermann - who has been at the company for little more than a year - has resigned from all his functions as a Board member with immediate effect. The Vice-Chairman of the Board, Tom de Swaan, will assume the role of acting chairman