GE’s Ex-Investment Chief Takes Over As Icahn’s CEO After Florida Move

George PaulPeople on the Move
Aris Kekedjian

Aris Kekedjian. Image Credit: GE Capital

Icahn Enterprises, the conglomerate owned by billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn, has named a new CEO to replace Keith Cozza, who will part ways with the company after 7 years as its leader. Former GE Chief Investment Officer Aris Kekedjian will take his place as CEO beginning May 31 and take a spot on the company’s Board of Directors.

Cozza won’t be the only c-suite executive to depart Icahn Enterprises as SungHwan Cho, who has been with the company since 2006 and served as Chief Financial Officer since 2012, will also leave. The company hasn't named Cho’s successor.

The two executives exit after they indicated that they were unable to relocate to Florida after Carl Icahn moved both his home and business to Florida to avoid New York’s higher taxes.

Icahn’s decision to relocate to the Sunshine State is one that has become popular with investors in the last few years due to the state’s non-existent income tax and lower cost of living. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic investors and businessmen from New York and California have flocked to Florida, which has a bustling startup scene.

Cozza’s replacement in Florida, Aris Kekedjian is a veteran financial executive who has enjoyed a three-decade career at GE where he executive multi-billion mergers and built international platforms across Europe and the Middle East. While at GE he notably oversaw the IPO and split-off of Synchrony Financial and the break-up of GE Capital.

“I’m excited to welcome Aris to Icahn Enterprises, Carl Icahn stated in a press release. “His vast global experience and proven track record will complement our already strong team. I’d also like to thank Keith and Sung for their significant contributions to the incredible success enjoyed by Icahn Enterprises and our unitholders during their long tenure.

Kekedjian added, “The incredible reputation, achievements and performance history of Carl Icahn and Icahn Enterprises speak for themselves. I am humbled to be joining such a storied franchise and look forward to helping to further the mission of delivering superior returns.”

In the first quarter of 2021, Icahn Enterprises announced that its estimated indicative net asset value increased by approximately $800 million, driven primarily by a $376 million increase in the Investment segment.

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