Nicholas Ashooh of AIG, the world’s worst PR guy?

Posted by | March 15, 2009 | business | One Comment

Nicholas Ashooh, AIG’s SVP of Communications sold his soul to the devil long ago, but he’ll still say anything to keep getting paid.

His latest gaff concerns why the people in the AIG gambling division in London who destroyed the company and who AIG specifically said wouldn’t be rewarded, are.

“You really do need these people, because they are the ones who know these contracts.”

Yeah, like you shouldn’t shoot the guy who is holding you over a cliff.

It would be naive to think that we could avoid paying these people, they have us over a barrel as well as a cliff. But the reason they have this power is nothing to do with contractual obligations. A law would be required to nullify their contracts, but a law was required to secure bail-out funds to stop AIG going bankrupt. Without that law nobody would get bonuses.

The rule of law would not break down, if a contract which could only be preserved by changing the law was broken by changing the law.

Unlike the Financial Products guys who are needed to diffuse the ticking bomb they created, Ashooh has nothing to offer the taxpayer, so there is the opportunity to put him over a barrel, now, if people want to.

After I blogged about the original furor about AIG compensation, in January, I received the email below from AIG flacks, where Ashooh’s principal defense was that the people receiving bonuses: “are not with, nor have ever been with AIG Financial Products, the group that sold the credit default swaps.”

The Washington post writes that AIG Financial Products employees are being given bonuses totaling $450M.

Ashooh has a BA in Journalism, Journalism, philosophy, psychology (I thought you could only get this kind of thing in France) from the Marquette Jesuit University. Here is their ‘fighting song’, which he can perhaps recite to keep his spirits up, since he’ll soon never be able to show his face in a restaurant again. “Goooo! Goooo! Go Ashooh! Go! Go! Go! Go!”

Marquette University fight song – Ring Out Ahoya

Ring out ahoya with an M-U rah-rah!
M-U rah-rah!
M-U rah-rah! Rah rah rah!
Ring out ahoya with an M-U rah-rah,
M-U rah rah for Old Marquette!

Goooo! Goooo! Go Marquette! Go! Go! Go! Go!
Goooo! Goooo! Go Marquette! Go! Go! Go! Go!

And here is Ashooh’s original email:

Dear David Galbraith:

Given your recent coverage of our company, I wanted to let you know that you can contact me if you are looking to get AIG’s perspective on an issue relating to the company.

I also I wanted to give you a heads up that we have responded to a letter from Representative Cummings regarding AIG’s retention planning. Here is the letter we have sent (I have attached it above).

Our key point is this: our highest priority is to pay back the government. We will do this by selling some of our high quality businesses. In our industry, the value of those businesses is based on two things: people and capital. The people that run those businesses are stars in their field. They are the ones who made AIG the largest player in insurance, and they are constantly being solicited by our major competitors. These employees are not with, nor have ever been with AIG Financial Products, the group that sold the credit default swaps. These folks are employees of AIG’s core insurance operations. Moreover, we’ve been informed by credit agencies that if we lose key insurance employees, our credit ratings will suffer (this is detailed in Mr. Liddy’s letter to Mr. Cummings).

For us to get the best value out the businesses we’re selling, and to ensure that our core insurance businesses remain profitable, we need them to stay. If they leave, the value our businesses will decline, and we will have less money to pay back taxpayers.


Nick Ashooh


Elia Dattolo

Admin. Mgr. & Exec Asst. to

Nicholas Ashooh, SVP, Communications

Tel. 212-770-3150

Fax: 212-785-0785

One Comment

  • Rebranding time……

    Can we now just rename all the divisions of all the banks? 
    “AIG gambling division in London”
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