By Svea Herbst-Bayliss
BOSTON (Reuters) – Billionaire investor Carl Icahn, a born New Yorker who has run his business from the city for decades, is moving his office, more than half of his staff and himself to Florida early next year, people familiar with the plan said on Thursday.
The 83-year-old investor, known for picking winners and facing off with captains of industry, has grown weary of working in New York and has been mulling the move for several years, the people said.
A few months ago he informed staff at his publicly traded company Icahn Enterprises (O:) that he plans to shutter his Manhattan office at the end of March 2020 and open a new office near Miami, where he has long had a home, in April 2020.
He will pay staff who move a $50,000 relocation benefit and severance to those who decide not to join him. Icahn employs roughly 50 people in New York and more than half, including some of his lawyers and portfolio analysts, will move, the people said.
News of the move was first reported by the New York Post.
Icahn did not return an email seeking comment.
Icahn is the latest in a string of financial executives, including billionaire hedge fund managers Paul Tudor Jones and David Tepper, who are decamping from the Northeast for Florida which boasts lower taxes.
But for Icahn, who has pledged to give away at least half of his wealth by signing Warren Buffett and Bill Gates’ Giving Pledge, the reason to move is more about lifestyle than taxes, someone who knows him said.
At an age when most people would have retired, Icahn is still working full days and pushing companies to perform better. He has long told associates that work exhilarates him and he has no plans to stop.
While he gave up investing for outside clients eight years ago, his vast personal wealth, estimated at $17.5 billion, allows him to stay in the game, putting billions to work in companies like Caesars Entertainment which merged with Eldorado Resorts (O:) earlier this year. He is also complaining loudly about Occidental Petroleum’s (N:) decision to buy Anadarko, mulling ways to influence the company more directly.
But life in New York, where he dines at favorite haunts like Il Tinello and works late hours at his Midtown office, was beginning to wear on him.
Squeezing in an after-work tennis game, something he likes to do at his Florida home, is nearly impossible in New York. He was already spending more time in Florida during the colder months and is considering selling his New York City home, a person familiar with his thinking said.
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