Icahn Taps Ex-GE M&A Chief Kekedjian to Lead Firm
(Bloomberg) -- Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn has hired former General Electric Co. executive Aris Kekedjian to head his namesake investment firm.
Icahn confirmed in a statement Monday he had hired Kekedjian as chief executive officer and chief operating officer of Icahn Enterprises LP.
“I’m excited to welcome Aris to Icahn Enterprises. His vast global experience and proven track record will complement our already strong team,” Icahn said.
Kekedjian, a 30-year GE veteran, ran the conglomerate’s businesses in Europe and the Middle East. He was GE’s chief investment officer until 2019. Since then, he has been a strategic adviser to Rainmaker Worldwide Inc., whose technology can provide water in arid environments.
He is replacing Keith Cozza, who has been CEO of Icahn Enterprises since 2014. Cozza, along with Chief Financial Officer SungHwan Cho, are leaving partly because neither planned to follow the company’s relocation to the Miami area. Icahn Enterprises is still in the process of hiring a new finance chief.
Cozza will remain with Icahn Enterprises until May 31, 2021, to help with the transition and will leave the board of directors of Icahn Enterprises upon his departure. Cho will remain with Icahn Enterprises through a transition period, and step down from the board upon his departure.
Icahn decided in 2019 to move his home and business to the Miami area, where he had bought a mansion in an exclusive island enclave on Biscayne Bay in the 1990s.
Icahn Enterprises, a publicly traded firm with a market value of more than $13 billion, manages Icahn’s wealth and serves as a holding company for scores of businesses.
Kekedjian worked both sides of deals for GE, first acquiring targets as the conglomerate expanded and then selling assets as it streamlined. These include the $30 billion merger of GE Oil & Gas and Baker Hughes, the $15 billion merger of GE Transportation with Wabtec, the IPO and split-off of Synchrony Financial and the breakup of GE Capital.
He was promoted in 2016 to lead GE’s mergers and acquisitions and business development team, according to a statement at the time. He had led the GE Capital M&A team since 2010 and was a central figure transforming GE Capital into a smaller company, according to the statement.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.