Carl Icahn is a name that rings a bell in the world of business and investment. Known as a Wall Street veteran, his strategies and decisions have left significant marks on both the highs and lows of markets. Icahn is that figure who, despite his age, is still wheeling and dealing large corporations. If you think you know all there is about Carl Icahn, think again. Here are 10 facts that will surprise you.

1. Carl Icahn Didn’t Start In Finance

Despite being a prominent figure in the world of finance today, Carl Icahn didn’t actually start out in this field. He was originally pre-med at Princeton University, and he only landed in Wall Street by chance after deciding not to continue pursuing a career in medicine.

Moreover, his first job on Wall Street wasn’t anything dazzling or glamorous. Icahn started his finance career as a stockbroker. He used this humble beginning as a stepping stone, learning everything he could and building a foundation for his future success which was yet to unfold.

2. Icahn Enterprises LP

Carl Icahn founded Icahn Enterprises LP, a diversified holding company engaged in a variety of businesses. The company consists of nine primary business segments: Investment, Automotive, Energy, Gaming, Railcar, Food Packaging, Metals, Real Estate, and Home Fashion.

What started as a personal vehicle for Icahn’s investment activities has grown into a colossal corporation. Using his shrewd, contrarian investment style, Icahn built an empire that includes a substantial stake in renowned companies such as Netflix, Apple, and eBay.

3. Shareholder Activism

Carl Icahn is best known in today’s financial world as a leading shareholder activist. He shakes up corporate management and advocates for changes that would favor shareholders. Icahn’s interventions oftentimes lead to higher stock price valuations for these companies.

Over the years, Icahn has engaged in many high-profile battles with corporate boards encouraging necessary reforms, transparency, and accountability. He believes that if he has a share in a company, he has a say in its direction, making his voice often a cause of both concern and celebration for the management teams of the companies he invests in.

4. Philanthropy and Giving Back

Whilst being a hard-nosed businessman, Carl Icahn is also a committed philanthropist. He has donated millions of dollars to causes he believes in such as education and healthcare. In particular, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has benefited significantly from his largesse.

Furthermore, his own foundation, the Children’s Rescue Fund, provides homes for homeless children and their families. There are also numerous scholarships created under his name that benefit students in business programs across the United States.

5. His Strategy is Controversial Yet Effective

Icahn’s investment strategy has a fair share of critics due to its aggressive and vocal nature. He is known for being very public and outspoken about his views and criticisms related to companies he invests in.

However, there’s no denying that Icahn’s methods have worked. Despite the controversy his methods stir up, Icahn remains one of the most successful and influential investors in the world. His strategy, while not universally accepted, is undeniably effective, making him a noteworthy figure in the finance and investment landscapes.

6. He Almost Took Over Marvel

In the world of comic books, Carl Icahn is viewed as a villain. During the 1990s, he tried to take control of the nearly bankrupt Marvel Entertainment but later on sold his stake.

Even though Icahn didn’t manage to seize control of Marvel, his involvement in the comic book industry cannot be overlooked. Nowadays, Marvel is thriving as part of Disney, which may not have been possible if Icahn hadn’t tried to make changes.

7. He Is An Art Collector

Despite his business-focused career, Icahn also finds time for art. He holds an impressive art collection, which includes pieces from masters like Picasso and Modigliani.

Collecting art isn’t just about aesthetics for Icahn. As a shrewd investor, he understands the value behind pieces of art and the potential return these assets can give in the future, demonstrating his immense business acumen.

8. He Loves Tennis

Carl Icahn is a big fan of tennis. He has a tennis court in his house and plays the game regularly as a way to keep fit and clear his mind.

Icahn’s love for tennis isn’t just confined to his personal life though. He was a major investor in Steve Wynn’s professional tennis tour in the 80s, proving once again his skill at mixing business with pleasure.

9. He Started An Internet Company

In the dot-com era, Carl Icahn started an Internet company called Stratosphere Corporation, where he made significant investments. Despite the tech bubble burst and other companies floundering, Icahn stuck to his guns.

Although Stratosphere eventually failed, Icahn’s willingness to embrace tech exemplifies his fearlessness and openness to evolving market trends, even if they sometimes lead to losses.

10. He Married Twice

Carl Icahn has been married twice. His first wife was Liba Trejbal, a ballerina. They were married for 20 years, from 1979 to 1999. He then married his long-time assistant Gail Golden in 1999 and has been married to her ever since.

Icahn’s personal life is as intense as his public one, primarily due to the negotiated prenuptial agreements with both wives. Yet, this offers a more intimate and humane peek into the life of this financial titan.


Carl Icahn is a fascinating character in the world of business and finance. His life demonstrates the sheer potential of what gritty determination and a strategic mind can achieve. Despite the controversies his methods have stirred up, his influence on Wall Street is undeniable, cementing his legacy in the annuls of American financial history.

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