He said in a statement 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.
"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.”
A spokeswoman of Zurich did not elaborate on what allegations Mr Ackermann was referring to surrounding Wauthier, who leaves behind a wife and two children, Reuters reports.
Tom de Swaan, Zurich's vice-chairman and former a ABN Amro banker, will take over as acting chairman.
Swiss police said the death of Zurich's finance chief appeared to be a suicide. The body of the 53-yearold, who had dual British and French citizenship, was discovered in his apartment in Zug, Switzerland on Tuesday.
Mr Wauthier, who was well-respected in the industry, held a Master’s degree in International Finance from l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales and a Masters in private law from the Sorbonne University in Paris.
He began his career at KPMG in 1982. He worked for two years at the French ministry of foreign affairs and joined JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM - news) in 1985, where he stayed until moving to Zurich Insurance.
Mr Wauthier became CFO in September 2011.
On Tuesday, the company said in a statement: “Zurich Insurance Group is in mourning following the death of its Group CFO, Pierre Wauthier, whose body was found this morning at his home.
“The police are investigating the exact circumstances. Out of consideration for the family no further details have been disclosed.”
Shares in Zurich insurance fell nearly 2pc in early trading to SFr230.2
Zurich Insurance earlier this month reported a 27pc fall in second quarter net income to $789m, missing analysts’ estimates, hit by floods in central Europe and tornadoes in the US.