New Yorker Icahn began his business life as a Wall Street stockbroker in 1961, but just 7 years later he would buy himself a seat on the New York Stock Exchange and found his securities firm, Icahn & Co. He would soon gain a reputation as a corporate raider by taking controlling positions in individual companies.
His corporate raider status would be cemented when in 1985 he would lead a hostile takeover of Trans World Airlines and began asset stripping to repay the money he had borrowed to purchase the airline. By 1988, he had taken TWA private and made a personal profit of $469 million whilst simultaneously leaving TWA $540 million in debt. In 199, he would make a further $445 million by selling the airlines London routes to American Airlines.
Icahn is worth around $17.6 billion