Donald Trump’s transition team announced Wednesday that billionaire investor Carl Icahn would serve as a special advisor to the President-elect on issues relating to regulatory reform.
“Carl was with me from the beginning and with his being one of the world’s great businessmen, that was something I truly appreciated,” Trump said in a statement. “He is not only a brilliant negotiator, but also someone who is innately able to predict the future especially having to do with finances and economies. His help on the strangling regulations that our country is faced with will be invaluable.”
Icahn, chairman of Icahn Enterprises and a longtime investor with major stakes in AIG, Paypal, Xerox and countless others, calls himself an “activist” investor for his insistence on being involved in decision-making for the companies in which he owns shares.
He’s also yet another billionaire to join the highest levels of the Trump administration, now the wealthiest in American history. Forbes estimates Icahn’s new worth at $16.5 billion.
The press release announcing Icahn’s appointment called him “one of President-elect Trump’s earliest supporters,” although that support has proven to have limits. Last November, Icahn said there was “no way” he would be Trump’s Treasury Secretary, a decision he affirmed again after Election Day.
“I’m not ever going to be secretary of anything in Washington,” he said a year ago, after briefly saying he would accept such an offer.
Still, Trump has often sought Icahn’s advice. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Icahn was advising Trump on the Environmental Protection Agency in the days before Trump nominated Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt for the job. The Journal also reported that Icahn was involved in the search for a new chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, a crucially important position for activist investors such as himself.