In his first public comments since resigning from Switzerland's largest insurer after being named in the suicide note of its finance chief, Josef Ackermann said it was unfair to blame him for what he called a surprise tragedy.
Reuters News reports that speaking to reporters in Berlin at the presentation of a biography that depicts him as a hard-driving perfectionist, the former Deutsche Bank CEO described the death of Pierre Wauthier as a "very tragic event".
But he said he had barely known the executive who blamed him in a note that he typed before taking his own life last month.
Days later, Ackermann stepped down as chairman of Zurich Insurance. On Thursday, he announced he would also be giving up his seat on the supervisory board of Siemens after losing an internal battle in July over the ousting of the German engineering giant's CEO.
The biography by his personal spokesman Stefan Baron, titled Late remorse: a close-up of Josef Ackermann, depicts him as an impatient, exacting boss who demanded excellence from staff but also took colleagues and their partners away for weekend breaks, including a trip to India to play elephant polo.
Ackermann said his encounters with Wauthier, who left a wife and two children, had been infrequent and limited to exchanges about the insurer's accounts that he described as 'always businesslike and based on mutual respect.'
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