Dietrich Mateschitz

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Dietrich Mateschitz born 20 May, 1944 is an Austrian billionaire businessman. He co-founded the Red Bull energy drink company, and holds 49% of the company’s shares. According to Forbes, Mateschitz’s net worth, as of June 2019, is estimated to be $20.2 billion.

Mateschitz was born in Sankt Marein im Mürztal, Styria, Austria to a family of Croatian ancestry (Matešić).  His parents were both primary school teachers and separated when he was a young child. Although never married, he has a son.  He holds a pilot’s licence and enjoys flying a Falcon 900 and a Piper Super Cub.After taking ten years to graduate from the Hochschule für Welthandel (now Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration) with a marketing degree,  Mateschitz’s first employer was Unilever, where he worked marketing detergents. He subsequently moved to Blendax, the German cosmetics company since bought by Procter & Gamble, where he worked on, among other things, the marketing of Blendax toothpaste.  

It was as part of his travels for Blendax that he discovered Krating Daeng, the drink that would later become Red Bull.  In 1984, he founded Red Bull GmbH  with his Thai partners Chaleo and his eldest son Chalerm Yoovidhya, with the launch in Austria in 1987.  Subsequently, he turned the Red Bull drink into a world market leader among energy drinks.

Once, Dietrich tasted a Thai syrupy drink that gave him a quick energy boost. With this, he decided to develop his own drink, and partnered with Chaleo Yoovidhya to fulfill the mission. Each partner took 49% of the company’s share, and the remaining 2% was given to Yoovidhya’s son.  During Red Bull’s inception, there was no existing market for energy drinks, but Dietrich knew that his product is going to create it. After its successful reception, many people said that it is just a fad, but soon, they saw many other companies manufacturing similar drinks, and this gave him a boost in confidence.

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Dietrich Mateschitz’s style of marketing is different, and he invests heavily on building his brand. Red Bull’s tagline ‘It gives you wings’ is unreal, yet catchy. Over time, Red Bull became one of the very first global brands from Austria, even before Lipizzaner Horses. Despite the fact that Red Bull originated from the East, its primary growth comes from Japan and India.

Mateschitz’s brands are consistently marketed as associated with the physical and mental attributes needed for various types of extreme sports through commercial sponsorship.  Red Bull formerly owned more than 60 percent of the Sauber Formula One motor racing team, and was the team’s main sponsor. However, Red Bull ended its relationship with Sauber at the end of 2001 after the team opted to sign Kimi Räikkönen as one of their drivers for the 2001 season instead of Red Bull protege Enrique Bernoldi.  

In November 2004, Mateschitz bought the Jaguar Racing Formula One team from its previous owners, Ford, and renamed it Red Bull Racing. In September 2005, Mateschitz joined forces with his close friend and former Formula One driver, Gerhard Berger, to purchase the Italian-registered Minardi team from its Australian owner Paul Stoddart. The team was renamed Scuderia Toro RossoToro Rosso meaning Red Bull in Italian. In 2010, Red Bull Racing won the Formula One World Constructors’ Championship and Drivers’ Championship with Sebastian Vettel. They then went on to win both titles for the next three years running in 2011, 2012, and 2013, making Vettel and Red Bull Racing four-time world champions.

From 2006 to 2011, Mateschitz also owned Team Red Bull who competed in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the K&N Pro Series East.

In late 2004, he bought the A1-Ring racing circuit, which had formerly hosted the Formula One Austrian Grand Prix, and renamed it the Red Bull Ring. The circuit re-opened in May 2011 and hosted a round of the 2011 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters season. Although Mateschitz had stated that there were no plans for it to return to the Formula One calendar, in December 2012 Red Bull notified the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile they would be open to hosting a Grand Prix.  In July 2013, Red Bull announced the return of the Austrian Grand Prix to the Formula One World Championship in 2014. The race took place on 22 June 2014 and was won by Nico Rosberg, driving for Mercedes.

Mateschitz has his own hangar, where he keeps his collection of old planes, including the last ever Douglas DC-6B to be produced, and which once belonged to Marshal Josip Broz Tito.  He also sponsors the World Stunt Awards, an annual fundraiser to benefit his Taurus Foundation, which helps injured stunt professionals.

In April 2005, he bought the Austrian football club SV Austria Salzburg and in March 2006, he bought the American club MetroStars; both clubs were subsequently renamed after his famous drink, as Red Bull Salzburg and New York Red Bulls, respectively. In 2007, Red Bull founded Red Bull Brasil, a football team based in Campinas, Brazil. The team was promoted to the 1st division of the São Paulo championship in 2014, the most competitive state championship of the country. In May 2009, he founded a German football club called RB Leipzig and was named as owner. Since 2012, he is also the owner of the German ice hockey club EHC München, which also changed its name into Red Bull München.

He also owned Seitenblicke, Austria’s top society magazine, but avoids the celebrity circuit and watches most Formula One races on TV despite owning two teams. He is co-founder of the Wings for Life foundation that supports spinal cord research together with Heinz Kinigadner. Since 2014, the foundation has organised the Wings for Life World Run to raise funds.

He lives in Fuschl am See, Austria but also owns Laucala Island, off Fiji, which he bought from the Forbes family for £7 million. In 2013, Mateschitz purchased a custom DeepFlight Super Falcon, an extreme $1.7 million submarine for guests at his Laucala Island resort in Fiji.