The legendary investor Carl Icahn appeared on the financial TV show “Wall Street Week” (Episode 3). The 79 year-old owner and founder of Icahn Enterprises talked at length about his early childhood, current investment trends, his life-long career as an activist investor, and commented on President Obama.
Icahn talked about growing up Jewish in Far Rockaway, Queens, New York. He also talked about his father coming to terms with being a “dogmatic atheist” and a cantor in Cedarhurst, Long Island.
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Icahn went on to graduate from Princeton University in 1957 and even joined New York University School of Medicine, only to drop out after two years to join the Army. Coming from a middle-class background with little financial backing, he described his struggle to finance his education at Princeton. He even took to poker to earn his living, meticulously learning the mathematics behind the card game as a young boy, an early habit that helped to propel him as a star investor in later life.
He excelled in his career as a Wall Street stockbroker in the early 1960s and in 1968 founded his own securities firm, Icahn & Company. Public acclaim came in the 1980s when he gained a formidable reputation as Wall Street’s prominent activist investor, leveraging his shareholder’s stake in companies to change their corporate culture and management structures, all to increase the value for the shareholders.
In his long career as an activist investor has made substantial investments in many of the leading companies. His recent high-profile investments include Dell, Netflix and Apple.
Appearing on “Wall Street Week” Icahn talked about his initial opposition to Obama when the he first ran for president in 2008, but he did not share the ferocity of many Obama detractors today.
Icahn has been involved in several philanthropic activities, including his own Icahn Charitable Foundation and Icahn Scholars Program at Choate Rosemary Hall.