Josef Ackermann tried to shake up Zurich Insurance Group AG.Now, allegations that he was partly responsible for the suicide ofthe chief financial officer are casting a shadow over his 35-yearcareer.

Pierre Wauthier, who was found dead on Aug. 26 at his home nearZug, Switzerland, mentioned Ackermann in a suicide note. The Swissnative, 65, quit as chairman three days later and called theallegations “unfounded.” Zurich Insurance, facing renewed concernsabout its financial health, has since said it's looking intowhether undue pressure was placed on the CFO.

“No matter which way you cut it, the departure amounts to apersonal failure,” said Lutz Roehmeyer, a fund manager atLandesbank Berlin Investment, who helps oversee more than 11billion euros ($14.5 billion). “He'll be seen either as a bad guywho forced a person to suicide, or someone who couldn't pushthrough what he wanted. This will limit his job opportunities tocompanies that wouldn't normally have come into question.”

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