Bloomberg News

Ex-ABN Banker Schmittmann Killed Wife, Daughter, Himself

April 07, 2014

Jan Peter Schmittman

Jan Peter Schmittman, CEO ABN AMRO Bank Nederland. Photographer: Peter Boer, Hollandse Hoogte/Redux

Former ABN Amro Netherlands Chief Executive Officer Jan Peter Schmittmann committed suicide after killing his wife and one of his daughters, Dutch police said, as his family said he suffered from depression.

The Dutch forensic institute has “confirmed suspicions” of a murder-suicide, the police said in a statement today. Schmittmann’s family was cited as saying in the statement that “we knew Jan Peter struggled with severe depression.”

Schmittmann, 57, and his wife and daughter were found at their home in Laren, 32 kilometers (20 miles) southeast of Amsterdam, on April 5 after the police received a call from an acquaintance who said something might be wrong at the property. Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf identified the dead women as Schmittman’s 57-year-old wife, Nelly, and their daughter Babette, 22.

“A farewell letter has been found inside the house,” the police said in the statement. The authorities declined further comment on the letter’s contents and time and cause of death.

Schmittmann, who was born in Maartensdijk, Netherlands, is survived by one daughter, who wasn’t at home and was informed by officers of the death of her family, the police said on April 5.

“We are deeply shocked and devastated by this incomprehensible news,” Schmittmann’s family said in the police statement. “Our first concern now is supporting the remaining daughter in coping with this indescribable grief.”

De Telegraaf reported today that Schmittmann hanged himself, citing two people it didn’t identify.

Nationalization, Dismissal

Schmittmann joined ABN Amro Holding NV, once among Europe’s biggest banks, in 1983 as an assistant relationship manager and was named head of the lender’s Dutch unit in 2003. As a member of the bank’s executive board, he was responsible for restructuring it along the lines agreed by Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, Fortis and Banco Santander SA in their three-way takeover of the lender in 2007.

A year after the biggest financial-services takeover in history, the credit crunch drove Fortis to the verge of collapse, forcing the Netherlands to take over its Dutch banking and insurance units, including assets of the former ABN Amro in 2008. The Dutch asked Gerrit Zalm to lead the company now called ABN Amro Group NV.

On the eve of the nationalization, Schmittmann was dismissed by the Dutch Finance Ministry, he told lawmakers in a 2011 hearing. He received an 8 million-euro ($11 million) severance payment, less than what he was entitled to under his contract and more than the Dutch government sought to pay.

London Deaths

Schmittmann owned 2phase2, a management company for investments and financial transactions, according to information on LinkedIn Corp.’s professional social-networking website. He’s also co-founder of 5 Park Lane BV, and last year returned to banking as a supervisory board member at Delta Lloyd Bank NV.

Recent deaths by finance workers around the world have raised concerns of mental health and stress levels in the industry.

A coroner in London last month started an inquest into the apparent suicide of William Broeksmit, 58, a retired Deutsche Bank AG risk executive found dead in his London home in January. The inquest for Gabriel Magee, a 39-year-old vice president in technology operations at JPMorgan Chase & Co., who died after falling from the firm’s 33-story London headquarters, is scheduled for late May.

In 2009, former ABN Amro Holding NV Chief Financial Officer Huibert Boumeester, 49, took his life while suffering from depression, according to the coroner investigating his death. The banker was found dead from gunshot wounds by police that June in woodlands 25 miles west of his London home.

To contact the reporters on this story: Maud van Gaal in Amsterdam at mvangaal@bloomberg.net; Martijn van der Starre in Amsterdam at vanderstarre@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net; Mariajose Vera at mvera1@bloomberg.net Keith Campbell, Steven Crabill


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