Bachelor in Philosophy, Princeton University, New Jersey, 1957; Student, New York University School Medicine.
Icahn began his career on Wall Street as a stockbroker in 1961 and in 1968, he formed Icahn & Co., a securities firm that focused on risk arbitrage and options trading. In 1978, he began taking controlling positions in individual companies.He has taken substantial or controlling positions in various corporations including RJR Nabisco, TWA, Texaco, Phillips Petroleum, Western Union, Gulf & Western, Viacom, Uniroyal, Dan River, Marshall Field's, E-II (Culligan and Samsonite), American Can, USX, Marvel Comics, Revlon, Imclone, Federal-Mogul, Fairmont Hotels, Blockbuster, Kerr-McGee, Time Warner, Netflix, Motorola, and Herbalife.
Apprentice broker Dreyfus Corporation, New York City, 1960-1963. Options manager Tessel, Patrick & Company, 1963-1964, Gruntal & Company, 1964-1968. Chairman, president Icahn & Company, New York City, 1968—2005.
Chairman board Starfire Holding Corporation (formerly Icahn Holding), since 1984. Chairman American Car and Foundry Industries Incorporated, St. Charles, Missouri, since 1984. Chairman, president, Chief Executive Officer Trans World Airlines Incorporated, New York York City, 1985—1993.
Founder Icahn Capital Incorporated, since 1987. Chairman board American Property Investors Incorporated, since 1990, American Railcar Industries, since 1994, Maupintour Holdings, LLC, 1998—2002. President Stratosphere Corporation, 1998—2004.
Chairman board Great Britain Holdings, 2000—2007, XO Holdings, Incorporated (formerly XO Communications), since 2003, ImClone Systems Incorporated, 2006—2008. Board directors Starfire Holding Corporation, since 1984, Cadus Pharmaceutical Corporation, since 1993, American Railcar Industries Incorporated, since 1994, Blockbuster Incorporated, since 2005, WestPoint International, Incorporated, since 2005, ImClone Systems Incorporated, 2006—2008, Western Climate Initiative Communities, Incorporated, since 2007, Yahoo! Incorporated, 2008—2009, Motricity, Incorporated, since 2008, Federal-Mogul Corporation, since 2007, non-executive chairman, since 2008. Served in United States Army, 1960-1961.
Founder Icahn House, New York City, Carl C. Icahn Charter School, New York City.
Icahn was fond of boxing at school. However, the main hobby of his life became poker. Once on the beach in Long Beach, he won more than a thousand dollars, which is enough to pay for training at Princeton University.
Quotes from others about the person
Fellow finance billionaire Leon Black says “He loves winning, and he loves money–but it’s just a scorecard to show he’s recognized value and won. He is smart and unrelenting, he doesn’t care what other people think, and even though he is not always right, I would never bet against him.”
Icahn has been married twice.
In 1979, he married Liba Trejbal, a ballerina from the former Czech Republic. They divorced in 1999 after years of litigation. Liba had sought to invalidate a prenuptial agreement she had signed prior to their marriage claiming duress as she was pregnant at the time. Liba originally fought Icahn's offer of roughly $1.5 million a year because he was worth billions at the time and eventually settled for an undisclosed amount. They have two children, one of whom is Brett Icahn.
In 1999, he married his longtime assistant and former broker, Gail Golden. She has two children from a prior marriage.