1. Greatest Investors: Introduction
  2. The Greatest Investors: John (Jack) Bogle
  3. The Greatest Investors: Warren Buffett
  4. The Greatest Investors: David Einhorn
  5. The Greatest Investors: Stanley Druckenmiller
  6. The Greatest Investors: David Dreman
  7. The Greatest Investors: Philip Fisher
  8. The Greatest Investors: Benjamin Graham
  9. The Greatest Investors: William H. Gross
  10. The Greatest Investors: Carl Icahn
  11. The Greatest Investors: Jesse L. Livermore
  12. The Greatest Investors: Peter Lynch
  13. The Greatest Investors: Bill Miller
  14. The Greatest Investors: John Neff
  15. The Greatest Investors: William J. O'Neil
  16. The Greatest Investors: Julian Robertson
  17. The Greatest Investors: Thomas Rowe Price, Jr.
  18. The Greatest Investors: James D. Slater
  19. The Greatest Investors: George Soros
  20. The Greatest Investors: Michael Steinhardt
  21. The Greatest Investors: John Templeton
  22. The Greatest Investors: Ralph Wanger

Born: 1936 (New York City)

Key Positions: Icahn & Company (securities firm)

Icahn Enterprises, LP (IEP)

Icahn Partners (hedge fund)

Personal History:
Carl Icahn, best known for the “Icahn Lift” which describes the quick upward trajectory in a company’s stock price when Icahn begins to invest in the company, has made a name for himself in the often-turbulent world of activist investing. Icahn grew up in a middle-class family in Queens, New York City. He graduated from Princeton University with a degree in philosophy in 1957 and enrolled at New York University’s School of Medicine but did not complete his coursework. In 1961, Icahn began to work for Dreyfus & Company as an entry level stockbroker. In 1968, Icahn bought a seat on the New York Stock Exchange and launched his individual finance career with an emphasis in trading options.

Over time, Icahn developed a reputation as a tough negotiator and an ingenious strategist, and he began to use his positions in companies to exert influence on the business practice of those companies, a procedure known as activist investing. Icahn has been involved in many battles with corporations across an array of sectors, including Western Union, Phillips Petroleum, Texaco, Viacom, Revlon, Time Warner, Motorola, and others. In 2006, Icahn worked to break Time Warner into four separate companies. Some of Icahn’s most recent investment efforts have included Netflix, Lyft, Vanguard Group, Hertz, and more.

Icahn has become increasingly political in recent years. He publicly endorsed Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and was rumored to be in consideration for the position of Treasury Secretary. Since late 2016 Icahn has served as Special Advisor to Trump on financial matters. Icahn is also known for his philanthropy and has made major contributions to Princeton University, and various public and private organizations in the New York City area.

Investment Philosophy:
Icahn’s investment strategy shifted over time. His earliest experiences as an options trader eventually morphed into his position as an activist investor, not afraid to use his ownership positions in publicly traded companies to pressure those companies into making changes which he felt would boost the value of his shares. Icahn’s activism began in earnest in the late 1970s, and one of his first highly public takeovers was of TWA in 1985. His activism has garnered him enemies in the past, but the strategy has proven to be a highly successful one. Icahn continues to search out companies that he feels are poorly managed and underperforming in order to buy up controlling stakes and exert influence.

Key to Icahn’s investment strategy is moving in opposition to those around him. When most people are selling, Icahn begins to buy, eventually accumulating enough of a position to lobby for a position on the company’s board of directors. Icahn will often move to fire the CEO and, in many cases, to break up the company into different parts to facilitate a sale. Icahn has developed a reputation as an intimidating, relentless, and highly competitive investor.

Noteworthy Publications:

"King Icahn" by Mark Stevens (1993)


"I make money. Nothing wrong with that. That's what I want to do. That's what I'm here to do. That's what I enjoy."

"CEOs are paid for doing a terrible job. If the system wasn't so messed up, guys like me wouldn't make this kind of money.”

The Greatest Investors: Jesse L. Livermore
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    Icahn Enterprises: An Activist Investor Analysis

    Learn how Carl Icahn has earned his reputation as a brutally effective activist shareholder, corporate takeover artist and general boardroom menace.
  2. Investing

    Where Does Carl Icahn Keep His Money?

    Learn about where Carl Icahn keeps his money. Read about how a number of his investments in energy companies lost significant value in 2015.
  3. Financial Advisor

    This Is What Carl Icahn's Portfolio Looks Like (IEP)

    Read about some of the holdings in Carl Icahn's portfolio. Learn about his activist campaigns against companies that he believes are performing poorly.
  4. Managing Wealth

    Turnaround Titan: How Carl Icahn Does It

    Carl Icahn's investment strategy, explained to regular investors.
  5. Investing

    How Is Trump’s New Advisor Carl Icahn Investing? (IEP, HLF)

    So where did Icahn invest in Q3? Were there any surprises for his $19.8 billion portfolio? Based on the most recent 13F forms submitted to the SEC we can investigate Icahn’s latest stock activity. ...
  6. Investing

    Icahn Leaves Voltari Position But Adds to Hertz

    The billionaire Carl Icahn sold off his stake in tech company Voltari, according to a recent 13-F.
  7. Investing

    Recent events may impact Icahn's portfolio (AAPL, AIG)

    Recent Events Surrounding Apple Inc. (AAPL) and American International Group Inc (AIG) May Impact Carl Icahn's Hedge Fund
  8. Investing

    Icahn Will Assume Ownership of Federal-Mogul

    The back-and-forth between billionaire Icahn and the auto parts maker will result in his assuming full ownership.
  9. Retirement

    Billionaire Carl Icahn's Q1 Moves: PYPL, AAPL

    Billionaire hedge fund manager Carl Icahn reduced his holdings in PYPL and AAPL in Q1. Let's find out why.
  10. Investing

    Carl Icahn Reveals Pricing Terms on Rights Offering

    Carl Icahn's Icahn Enterprises LP previously announced a rights offering, and now the company has followed up with the pricing terms.
Frequently Asked Questions
  1. What's the Best Way to Contact Warren Buffett?

    Learn how to contact Warren Buffett and what kinds of contact is most likely to receive a response from him or from his company, ...
  2. What is the Financial Services Sector?

    A diverse group of companies, beyond banks and credit unions, comprises the financial services sector.
  3. Who are Whole Foods' (WFM) main competitors?

    Whole Foods' main competitors are Sprouts Farmers Markets and Trader Joe's. However, the recent acquisition by Amazon my ...
  4. What caused the Stock Market Crash of 1929 that preceded the Great Depression?

    Find out what led to the stock market crash of 1929, which in turn led to the Great Depression. It sparked a nearly 90% loss ...
Trading Center