This Company’s Employees Are Choosing Suicide

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Is there something in the water or is the pressure at big companies too much for its top officials?

Martin Senn, the former insurance boss for Zurich, has just commuted suicide. According to Swiss newspaper Blick, Senn, 59, shot himself at his family’s Alpine resort home in Klosters. He had been CEO at Zurich since 2010.

Senn’s death comes just six months after leaving the company and less than three years after Zurich’s finance chief took his own life. Senn had quit as chief executive of Zurich in December following a series of profit warnings and a mishandled takeover of British rival RSA.

“Martin Senn’s family has informed us that Martin committed suicide last Friday,” the company said in a statement on Monday. The company added that it was “stunned and deeply shaken”.

One person close to Senn said he had taken Pierre Wauthier’s death hard.

Zurich’s finance chief Pierre Wauthier committed suicide in August 2013. Wauthier’s death had shed a light on the pressure that senior executives face. His suicide note addressed “To whom it may concern” and went on to describe becoming demoralised by what he called a new, more aggressive tone at Zurich under then-Chairman Josef Ackermann. Ackermann had denied any wrongdoing but quit soon after Wauthier’s death.