The American society was built on the back of economic principles that favored intellectual and creative growth. These principles have helped the country become the foremost capitalist nation in the world, creating several hundreds of billionaires and millionaires in the process. The country can boast of world-changing innovations from technology to agriculture to education and one man who has made himself rich off these innovations and ideas is Carl Icahn.
Carl Icahn has built wealth large enough to become one of the richest men in the world through his investments in several companies. A man, popularly known in the American money circle as a “corporate raider”, the Jewish billionaire is the founder of Icahn Enterprises. Learn about Carl Icahn and his life below.
Carl Icahn Biography
Today, the perception of billionaires by the majority in the world is that they got an early start from their parents who were wealthy enough to give them a platform to build on and make their billions. While that is true for a sizeable number of billionaires, that is not the case of Carl Icahn who was born to two school teachers. His father was also a cantor.
He was born to both Jewish parents on the 16th of February, 1936 in New York City and was raised in Queens where he attended Far Rockaway High School. As a boy, Carl Icahn was a smart child academically and it reflected in his academic history. After graduating high school, he attended one of the top schools in the country, Princeton University where he studied and earned a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy.
After graduation from Princeton in 1957, he proceeded to New York University School of Medicine in an attempt to become a medical doctor. However, after two years, he had to drop out to join the army reserves. His stint in the army reserve barely lasted five years and he began a career as a stockbroker after.
Icahn started his career as a stockbroker in 1961, signaling the beginning of the path that would make him one of the richest men in the world. After seven years as a stockbroker, he started out on his own, establishing his own securities firm named Icahn & Co. Due to the many aspects of stock trading, Icahn focused his firm on risk arbitrage and options trading.
Ten years after the establishment of his own firm, Carl Icahn took another major step on his road to becoming a billionaire. He began to invest in several companies, positioning himself as the controlling owner of these companies. His biggest and most significant move in this regard was his acquisition of Trans World Airlines. Through the acquisition and his eventual decision to strip the assets of the airline, Icahn developed a reputation for being a corporate raider.
However, while the move may have been morally questionable, especially in terms of its impact on the workers of the airline, he made $469 million from the business decision. He further made $445 million from selling the company’s London routes to American Airlines.
Over the years, the mogul has brokered several business deals, such as the acquisition of Take-Two Interactive video game company. He also has investments in a few pharmaceutical and medical companies, Telik and Biogen and a few real estate properties as part of his investment portfolios such as Aquarius Casino Resort, Stratosphere, and a few others. In tech, Carl Icahn has business interests in companies like Motorola, Netflix, Lyft and Apple.
His wealth has made him a valued personality in the American society and as such, placed him in certain positions, including most recently, as a Special Advisor on Regulatory Reform to President in 2017.
Forbes magazine, the world’s foremost magazine when it comes to the estimation of wealth in its September 2018 analysis, considered Carl Icahn to be worth $22.5 billion. Through his wealth, he has made several donations to several institutions that have resulted in a few buildings named after him, such as the Icahn Stadium in Randall’s Island and Carl C. Icahn Laboratory in Princeton University.
He intends to donate over half of his net worth when he dies as part of his commitment to the Giving Pledge.
Family Life – Wife, Kids
Carl Icahn started his marital life with Liba Trejbal in 1979. The couple were married for a long time but ended their marriage with a bitter divorce that saw both parties end up in court in a fight that was only eventually settled out of court. Before the marriage came to its tumultuous end, it produced two children, Brett Icahn, and Michelle Celia Icahn Nevin.
Is Carl Icahn Really Jewish?
Although his father was an atheist, he was a cantor and thus raised Carl in the Jewish religion. He has continued to identify with the religion (Judaism) till date.