By Suzanne Barlyn
(Reuters) – Samuel Merksamer, who represents billionaire Carl Icahn on several corporate boards, has exited the activist investor's hedge fund firm, and it was unclear on Monday how Icahn's interests will be represented at those companies going forward.
Merksamer had since 2008 been a managing director at Icahn Capital, a unit of Icahn Enterprises LP, and served on the boards of more than a dozen companies on his behalf, according to biographies on corporate websites.
He currently sits on the boards of American International Group Inc (NYSE:), Transocean Ltd (NYSE:), Navistar International Corp, Ferrous Resources Ltd, Hertz Global Holdings Inc and Cheniere Energy Inc.
It is unclear what his departure from Icahn's firm means for those board seats or whether Icahn will try to replace Merksamer with another representative.
Merksamer could not immediately be reached.
“After almost nine years, it is time to move on from Icahn Capital and do something else,” Merksamer had written colleagues in a December 2016 email. He did not give a reason for his departure or say what he would be doing next.
Icahn did not immediately respond to requests for comment sent through intermediaries.
Representatives at AIG, Cheniere and Transocean all said Merksamer remains on their respective boards of directors.
A spokesperson for Brazilian mining company Ferrous Resources could not immediately be reached. Other companies whose boards Merksamer currently serves on either declined to comment or did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Icahn has shaken up management teams and business strategies at many companies, using deputies like Merksamer to implement changes he deems necessary. AIG's board is now reportedly considering whether to replace Chief Executive Peter Hancock.
Merksamer was a relatively young face among corporate directors, who tend to be near or past retirement age. The 36-year-old graduated from Cornell University in 2002 with an economics degree. He was previously an analyst at Airlie Opportunity Capital Management.
Directors of public companies are typically elected by shareholders at annual meetings to serve a one-year term.
Icahn, who is worth $ 16.6 billion, according to Forbes, has several other deputies involved in his investments, including his son Brett Icahn, as well as David Schechter and Jonathan Christodoro. But it is not clear who, if anyone, Icahn will try to put up for votes to replace Merksamer.
Others have left Icahn's firm to start their own activist investment funds, including Corvex Management founder Keith Meister and Sarissa Capital Management Alex Denner.
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