Ashooh’s career in public relations began at the nuclear power plant in Seabrook, New Hampshire, where Ashooh was employed as the plant’s spokesman. From there, the successes just kept coming. Ashooh’s career path could be summarized as follows:
- From 1978 to 1990, he served as the director of corporate communications for Public Service of New Hampshire, the state’s largest electric utility.
- Ashooh then joined Paramount Communications, a division of Paramount Pictures (which is itself a unit of Viacom Inc.), as Vice President, Corporate Communications.
- In 1992, Ashooh was appointed Vice President for Communications and Government Relations for the Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation in Syracuse, New York.
- After serving eight years at Niagara Mohawk, Ashooh joined American Electric Power Company Inc. of Columbus, Ohio, as Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications.
- Most recently, Ashooh was appointed Senior Vice President, Communications for American International Group, Inc. (AIG). He joined AIG in September of 2006, replacing John T. Wooster, Jr.
Ashooh’s role at Niagara Mohawk was easily the most challenging of his career, but his planning and communication skills always nipped problems in the bud before they could become full-blown crises.
During his time with the power company, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission passed a ruling which required Niagara Mohawk to let other power companies use its transmission systems. Ashooh took control of the problem, however, and came up with a plan to solve it.
At one time his challenge was to make people understand the origin of the company’s problems. He explained that the state of New York had mandated that the company buy power from independent power producers, irrespective of whether it needed the power.
These purchases had to be made at six cents per kilowatt hour, which was twice the market price. Niagara Mohawk paid $1 billion that year to purchase power under the mandate. According to Ashooh, the company could have saved $400 million if it had generated the same power from its own idle plants in a nearby community.
He explained that the company required restructuring, which would only be possible when the unregulated power-generator problem was resolved. He argued that the law required fundamental changes when it comes to how electricity is bought and sold, and he urged elected officials to tackle this problem on high-priority basis.
As a successful public relations professional, Ashooh constantly researched developments in the political, financial, and environmental sectors. He searched for any developments that could affect his company, its employees and customers, and its even competitors.
He also communicated any problems to operational managers to help them formulate quick solutions. He has demonstrated that being voracious in gathering information is the only way to beat the competition and stay ahead.