Donald Trump’s transition team has named billionaire Carl Icahn as a special advisor to the president-elect, overseeing business regulation.
Known as an investment titan and activist investor that has previously clashed with government regulatory agencies in the past – including the Environmental Protection Agency, slated to be headed up by Scott Pruitt – Icahn will not be a federal employee and will not collect a salary through his role. According to a release from the incoming administration, Icahn’s complete list of duties are still unclear — but the the intention of this advisory role is to reduce the number of rules and to name the successor to Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission Mary Jo White, who will be stepping down next month.
“It’s time to break free of excessive regulation and let our entrepreneurs do what they do best: create jobs and support communities,” Icahn said in a statement released by the transition team. “Under President Obama, America’s business owners have been crippled by over $1 trillion in new regulations and over 750 billion hours dealing with paperwork.”
Icahn has already weighed in on other appointments including Pruitt, and whether Trump should nominate Steven Mnuchin for the Treasury Department and Wilbur Ross for Commerce. Both received the positions.
Icahn and Trump have worked together with deals through Icahn’s investment firm, which bought Trump Entertainment Resorts earlier this year, after its fourth round of bankruptcy troubles.
For the past 40 years, Icahn has been outspoken regarding corporate boards and is considered a leader when it comes to being an activist shareholder. Specifically, he has taken stances with Apple, Xerox, and eBay.
Some critics of the appointment see this as ironic, and even wrought with conflicts , in that Icahn will have the ability to hand craft regulations that could benefit his own business. Specifically, there is some concern about investor protection, and controlling stock in companies related to changes he may advise or decide on.
Icahn was an early backer of Trump’s campaign, advising him during the process as well. His wife, Gail, is on the inauguration committee.