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. in 1985, where he stayed until moving to Zurich Insurance.
He started out as a risk manager and in 1999 was promoted to head of the Investor Relations section.
He was appointed to the CFO post in September 2011 after previous roles as group treasurer and head of centrally managed businesses.
The company's group controller, Vibhu Sharma, will temporarily take over as financial chief.
A statement from the company read: “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.”
Martin Senn, the chief executive, said: “The Board of Directors, Group Executive Committee and all of our colleagues are deeply saddened and pass on our condolences to the family and relatives.”
Swiss news site Handelsblatt said police had ordered a post-mortem. It described Wauthier as a “financial expert who was calm and rational”.
It added: “He never seemed arrogant and also away from the protocol patiently answered questions from journalists.”
Zurich Insurance said earlier this month that net income for the second quarter fell 27pc to $789 million, missing analysts’ estimates, after floods in central Europe and tornadoes in the U.S. hurt earnings.