After the death of his mother, Eleanor Armitage, Ian learned that Maggie Carpenter had been there when Eleanor died, so he came to Llanview to speak to Maggie. He was looking for a locket that his mother had always worn around her neck. Maggie didn't have the locket, but when she and Ian eventually confronted her father, Bishop John Carpenter, about it he returned the locket, but it was empty. Around this time, the man that Ian had always believed was his father, Guy Armitage showed up in Llanview to reprimand Ian for screwing up a business deal. Ian and Guy did not get along together well at all.
The Bishop came back to town and Maggie and Ian tried to force him to reveal the secret he'd been hiding, but the Bishop had a heart attack and died before he could tell them. Andrew gave Ian the lock of hair that had been in the locket (the Bishop had given it to Andrew in case anything happened to him) and Ian, Max Holden, and Maggie went to Ian's mother's house in New Orleans in search of the truth. There they learned that Maggie and Ian were twins, their father was Bishop Carpenter and their mother was Eleanor Armitage. Ian was overjoyed to find his sister and to learn that he was not related to Guy, but he decided to keep it a secret from Guy.
In the meantime, Guy bought a radio station from Asa Buchanan out from under Ian and Max Holden's noses. Ian eventually became so angry with Guy that he blurted out the truth, that he was not Guy's son. But before Guy could finish changing his will, disinheriting Ian, he was killed in an explosion on his yacht. Ian became very rich and the owner of Armitage Enterprises, but his main concern was using the money to make his girlfriend, Kelly Cramer, happy. He took her whale watching, bought her a ring, and when he feared that Kelly was in trouble in Canton, OH, he took a plane out in a storm to try to reach her. Unfortunately for Ian, the wings of the plane iced over in the storm and Ian was killed when the plane crashed. Ian left a large inheritance to Kelly and the rest of the estate went to his sister, Maggie.