Name: Carl Celian Icahn

Date of birth: 16/02/1936

Net worth: $16.7B

Starting point: Carl Icahn, the only child in his family, was born in Queens, New York. 

High point: 

  • His parents were teachers. He graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy in 1957. Then he enrolled in New York University School of Medicine.

Low point: 

  • He dropped out of it after two years of studies.

High point: 

  • With the help of the funds from his uncle and his own funds, he established his firm, Icahn & Co., that focuses on risk arbitrage and options trading in 1968.

  • In 1978, he began taking control of the voting rights in individual companies.

Low point: 

  • Slowly but steadily, he gained the reputation of a “corporate raider” - a person who uses their company shares to influence a company’s management. 

  • He was also accused of “green mailing” several times - he threatened a company’s management to repurchase the shares at the premium price.

High point:

  • By becoming a chairman of Trans World Airlines, he managed to make a tremendous amount of money making significant decisions for the company

Low point:

  • He led this company to bankruptcy by 1992

High points: 

  • In the 90s, he purchased shares in American Real Estate Partners (AREP) and took over it.

  • Along with AREP, he also became board chairman of a few companies, including CVR energy, the casino operator Tropicana Entertainment, and American Railcar Industries

  • In the 21st century, Carl Icahn started investing in entertainment-related companies, such as the Blockbuster and Hollywood Entertainment video chains, Time Warner, and Netflix

Neutral point: 

  • He became a special adviser on issues pertaining to regulatory reform in 2017, having previously supported Donald Trump before and during the 2016 presidential race.

Low point:

  • He resigned his post later in 2017

  • Carl Icahn was also accused of pressing for a regulatory change that would have benefited his companies 

High point: 

  • He got away with it

Curious facts:

  • Carl Icahn is very invested (all puns intended) in horse races

  • He has a stadium named after him (Icahn Stadium on Randall's Island in NYC)

  • He founded the Children's Rescue Fund

  • According to his pledge, half his fortune will be given away after his death

All his life might be summarized by one of his quotes:

Don't go in and tell somebody else how to run their business

You might as well just take over it and run it yourself.