Carl Celian Icahn (born February 16, 1936) is an American financier, corporate raider, and private equity investor.
Icahn was raised in Far Rockaway, Queens, New York City, where he attended Far Rockaway High School. His father was a cantor (a Jewish prayer leader), his mother was a schoolteacher. He was educated at Princeton University (A.B., philosophy, 1957) and New York University School of Medicine, but left without graduating.
Icahn began his career on Wall Street in 1961. In 1968, he formed Icahn & Co., a securities firm that focused on risk arbitrage and options trading. In 1978, he began taking control of 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, E-II (Culligan and Samsonite), American Can, USX, Marvel Comics, Revlon, Imclone, Federal-Mogul, Fairmont Hotels, Blockbuster, Kerr-McGee, Time Warner and Motorola. With TWA, he got the rights to sell TWA tickets at a steep discount. People bought his tickets and pushed TWA into the red. As of February 2010, Icahn is now trying to grab 4 seats on the Genzyme board.