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Dietrich Mateschitz

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dietrich Mateschitz
Born (1944-05-20) 20 May 1944 (age 74)
ResidenceFuschl am See, Austria
EducationVienna University of Economics and Business
Net worth$23.7 billion[1][2]
TitleManaging director of the Red Bull GmbH

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.[3] As of January 2019, Mateschitz' net worth was estimated to be $23.7 billion, making him the 31st richest person in the world.[1]

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You’ve probably had that feeling when you’re tired, but you’ve got to stay awake, so you pop open an energy drink and boom, you’re hit by that familiar rush of energy. It’s this feeling that has given rise to an industry worth approximately 64.7 billion dollars as of 2015, and so this week’s Behind the Business video is dedicated to the beverage that made all of that possible, Red Bull. Surprisingly, Red Bull actually comes from Thailand. Now, Thailand is a country that’s not particularly known for its political stability. In fact, since 1912 Thailand has experienced a total of 21 coup attempts, about half of which ended up being successful, for an average of one coup every 5 years. The latest edition, by the way, was in 2014, but since their king died less than a month ago, we’ll probably be seeing another coup attempt pretty soon. Although today Thailand is a medium-income country with the 20th largest economy in the world, for most of the 20th century it was extremely destitute. Over 70% of the population lived in rural areas, and the average person got by on $2 a day. The region of Thailand that interests us is the Phichit province, located in the center of the country. It is there that in 1923 a man named Chaleo Yoovidhya was born to a family of duck herders. As you can imagine, herding ducks isn’t a very profitable business, and Chaleo grew up in poverty with minimal education. He was the third of five children, and as soon as he was old enough, his parents sent him 330 kilometers south to work in his older brother’s chemistry shop in Bangkok. Chaleo worked there as an antibiotics salesman, and over the years he learned a lot about chemistry and marketing. In 1962 he had saved enough money to start his own company, TC Pharmaceuticals. Chaleo ran his business well, but in the early 1970s he made a very curious observation. He noticed that the majority of energy drinks in Thailand at the time were foreign imports: in fact, the most popular one, called Lipovitan-D, came from Japan. These drinks were marketed mainly to the wealthier residents of Bangkok, which at the time was Thailand’s largest international port and so most foreign imports went through it. Chaleo realized, however, that the wealthy people of Bangkok weren’t the ones who would need energy drinks the most. Having come from crippling poverty himself, he knew all too well what it meant to be a low-paid worker pulling tiresome night shifts. Chaleo set about creating an energy drink of his own, and his first step was to analyze the composition of competing drinks. The primary ingredient in most energy drinks, including the ones sold in Thailand during the 1970s, is a compound called taurine. Now, taurine is a chemical of huge significance for the human body: it’s necessary for the function of your cardiovascular system, skeletal muscles and central nervous system. Contrary to the claims that you might find on social media, taurine isn’t made of bull semen. The reason it’s called taurine is because it was first isolated from ox bile. Not only is taurine essential for the function of the human body, it’s a compound that we naturally synthesize and to be honest, we should be glad about that. Unlike us, some mammals can’t produce taurine on their own and have to get it from external sources. I’m looking at you, cats. But even though we can produce small amounts of taurine on our own, dumping extra taurine into your bloodstream can give you a significant performance boost, especially if you’re sleep deprived. It is precisely for this reason that Chaleo chose taurine as the primary compound of his energy drink. He also added caffeine to serve as a stimulant, a bunch of B vitamins to support cell metabolism, and two forms of sugar to provide a source of energy. With the chemistry figured out, Chaleo’s next step was to design his brand. He wanted to convey the strength and potency of his drink, and so for his logo he chose to depict the gaur, a wild bovine species native to Southeast Asia. Gaurs are actually the largest living bovines, with adult bulls reaching up to 7 feet in height and weighing over 3,000 lb. Chaleo painted two red gaurs charging against each other in front of a golden disc, and he called his drink Krating Daeng, which unsurprisingly means Red Gaur in Thai. Having worked as a salesman for most of his life, Chaleo knew very well how to market his beverage. Instead of advertising in urban areas like Bangkok, Chaleo focused his efforts on the provincial regions of Thailand. One of his best ideas was to sponsor local Muay Thai events. Muay Thai is Thailand’s most popular martial art, whose origins date back to the 16th century. It was and still is an integral part of Thai culture, and it was actually the foundation upon which the Japanese developed kickboxing in the 1960s. Muay Thai became prominent internationally in the 1970s, and Chaleo managed to harness this rising wave of popularity for Krating Daeng. Thanks to a series of key event sponsorships through Thailand, in 1976 Krating Daeng was off to a phenomenal start. By the end of the year it had become the second most popular energy drink in Thailand, behind only Lipovitan-D, which it managed to overtake just one year later. Chaleo was lucky because from the 1970s up until the 1990s Thailand experienced a period of unprecedented economic growth. It’s GDP quadrupled, per capita income tripled, and Thailand was on its way to becoming an economic powerhouse rivaling the likes of Taiwan and South Korea. Krating Daeng became Thailand’s unofficial beverage during the boom years. Unlike the foreign energy drinks, Krating Daeng captured the national spirit and became a symbol for the perseverance of the working man. At this point you might be wondering, “Well hold on a minute, wasn’t Red Bull actually from Austria!” Technically, you’re right. I mean, if you open Red Bull’s website, that’s pretty much what they say. You shouldn’t really look at a company’s website for an unbiased account of its history, though. Here is what actually happened: While Krating Daeng was conquering Thailand’s energy drink market, an Austrian man named Dietrich Mateschitz was struggling to work as a salesman. He didn’t come from a particularly wealthy family: his parents were primary school teachers, which is rather ironic considering it took him 10 years to graduate from university with a marketing degree. He worked for half a dozen companies, including Unilever, before finally landing at Blendax, a German-based company notable for its toothpaste. In 1982 Dietrich travelled to Thailand for, *ahem*, business, of course, and after his flight he felt very sleepy so he decided to buy an energy drink. The drink he bought was Krating Daeng, and to his surprise it not only woke him up, but it also cured him of his jet lag. Dietrich got hooked immediately, drinking as many as 8 cans a day, and he liked the drink so much he decided to try to import it back to Austria. In 1984 he approached Chaleo with an offer: both of them would invest half a million dollars each into the establishment of an Austrian company that would distribute Krating Daeng internationally. Dietrich would be in charge of the new company’s operations, while Chaleo would continue to run TC Pharmaceuticals and Krating Daeng back in Thailand. Dietrich’s first task would be to westernize Krating Daeng and make it appealing to its European clientele. He left the basic formula pretty much the same, and the only big change he made was carbonating it. Dietrich liked the brand’s overall design, but instead of going for its name’s literal translation, he went for the more generic Red Bull. In many ways Dietrich was faced with the same marketing challenge that Chaleo had overcome a decade earlier. Krating Daeng was successful because it represented the spirit of its buyers, the working class of Thailand. Unlike Thailand, however, the vast majority of Europe had a pretty decent lifestyle, so Deitrich had to take a different approach. He knew that Red Bull would work best as a party drink, but had to figure out how to market it to a young generation of people who were firmly against traditional forms of advertising. This is where Dietrich struck gold. He paid students to have their Volkswagen Beetles or Mini Coopers redone with large Red Bull cans on top, and he also hired students to serve as “brand managers”. These “brand managers” were essentially paid to throw huge parties, where they would distribute free Red Bull cans to promote the brand. From these parties have emerged dozens of cocktail recipes using Red Bull, like the Vod-Bomb, the Jumping Jack Flash, and Liquid Cocaine. As you can imagine this marketing strategy was brilliant, and during the first year of its launch in 1987, Red Bull sold over a million cans in Austria. From then on it spread like wildfire, hitting the shelves of Hungary and Slovakia in 1992 and Germany and the UK in 1994. By the time Red Bull entered the US in 1997, it was selling 1 million cans every day. During this dramatic expansion Dietrich developed another ingenious marketing tactic. As an avid sports enthusiast and a proud owner of a pilot’s license, Dietrich was well aware of the rise of extreme sports during the 1980s. That’s one of the reasons why he gave the drink its emblematic slogan: “Red Bull gives you wings”. Dietrich’s first serious venture into the world of sport came in 1991 when he organized the first Red Bull Flugtag in Vienna. The event brings together competitors from across the globe who try to fly their homemade human-powered flying machines, usually with minimal success, but great entertainment value. The success of Flugtag convinced Dietrich to start hosting other sports events, and to that end he’s been spending an ever increasing amount on this alternative marketing strategy. In 2011, for example, Red Bull’s marketing budget amounted to 2.1 billion dollars, a stunning 84% of their gross profit. The list of events organized by Red Bull is truly impressive, and it features sports ranging from freestyle motocross to downhill ice skating. Red Bull has also acquired five soccer teams, including the New York Red Bulls, and three stadiums to go along with them. Over the years Red Bull has bought or sponsored teams across many different sports, but their most notable acquisitions by far are their two Formula One teams. That’s right, they’re bankrolling not one, but two teams participating in one of the most expensive sports in history. In 2011 Red Bull spent a third of their entire marketing budget on their Formula One teams, which has more than paid off considering their impressive track record. Scuderia Toro Rosso is the junior Red Bull team, which they bought from Minardi in 2005. The best drivers from Toro Rosso usually advance to the senior team, Red Bull Racing, which Dietrich acquired in 2004 from the Ford Motor company. Red Bull Racing has won a total of 8 titles, all thanks to their star driver Sebastian Vettel. Today Red Bull is bigger than ever, with a 43% global market share despite the rise of copycat brands like Monster and Rockstar. Interestingly enough in 2013 they got hit by a class-action lawsuit that claimed their “Red Bull gives you wings” slogan was tantamount to false advertising. Of course, it’s doubtful that anyone ever bought a Red Bull can with the hope of eventually growing wings, but hey, it’s the US so why not start a lawsuit, right? Eventually Red Bull settled for 13 million dollars, about half of which ended up in the hands of the victims whose dreams of growing wings had been shattered. On a final note I’d like to share with you footage from the Red Bull Stratos project, which in 2012 helped Felix Baumgartner skydive a record-breaking 24 miles from the stratosphere. I recommend watching it to the end, since I’ve got a few special surprises for you guys after, but for now, enjoy: Hey everyone, thanks for watching! We hit 10,000 subscribers a few days ago and we've got a huge update for you guys in our latest update video, which you can watch by clicking here. Basically the channel is getting its own subreddit, a new editor, and a Patreon page. In the update video I spend a lot of time explaining how all the different reward tiers on Patreon work, sort of like a tutorial for those of you not familiar with the platform. If tutorials aren’t really your thing though, you can also visit our Patreon page directly and support us by clicking here in the middle. In case you missed it, you can watch our previous video by clicking over here. It’s about the history of Ferrari, from their earliest racing endeavours in the 1920s to the latest special edition cars they’ve announced for their 70th anniversary. You can also visit our subreddit and follow us on social media by clicking down here, and as always: stay smart.



Mateschitz was born in Sankt Marein im Mürztal, Styria, Austria to a family of Croatian ancestry (Matešić).[4][5][6] His parents were both primary school teachers and separated when he was a young child.[7]

Although never married, he has a son.[8] He holds a pilot's licence and enjoys flying a Falcon 900 and a Piper Super Cub.[8]

After taking ten years to graduate from the Hochschule für Welthandel (now Vienna University of Economics and Business) with a marketing degree,[7] 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.[9] It was as part of his travels for Blendax that he discovered Krating Daeng, the drink that would later become Red Bull.[7] In 1984, he founded Red Bull GmbH [10] with his Thai partners Chaleo and his eldest son Chalerm Yoovidhya, with the launch in Austria in 1987.[9] Subsequently, he turned the Red Bull drink into a world market leader among energy drinks.[11]

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.[12]

He lives in Fuschl am See, Austria but also owns Laucala Island, off Fiji, which he bought from the Forbes family for £7 million.[8] In 2013, Mateschitz purchased a custom DeepFlight Super Falcon, an extreme $1.7 million submarine for guests at his Laucala Island resort in Fiji.[13]


Mateschitz's brands are consistently marketed as associated with the physical and mental attributes needed for various types of extreme sports through commercial sponsorship.[14] 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.[15] 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 Rosso, Toro 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.[16] 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.[17]

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 Yugoslav Marshal Josip Broz Tito.[18] 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[citation needed]. In 2008, Red Bull founded Red Bull Ghana. In May 2009, he founded a German football club called RB Leipzig after bought the club license of SSV Markranstädt. 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.[8]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Dietrich Mateschitz". Forbes. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  2. ^ "[2017] list]". Forbes. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  3. ^ "Red Bull Co-Funder Thai Tycoon Chaleo Dies". Associated Press. 17 March 2012.
  4. ^ Lauterbach, Peter (9 March 2010). "Mateschitz will unbedingt die Nummer eins sein" [Mateschitz is determined to be number one] (in German). Die Welt. Retrieved 28 December 2012. Mit dem smarten Einschlag seiner kroatischen Vorfahren gesegnet, ...("Blessed with the smart wrapping of his Croatian ancestry, ...")
  5. ^ "Wenn Milliardäre sich einen Fußballverein gönnen" (in German). Handelsblatt. 14 May 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2012. Fußball-Engagement als Marketing-Strategie: Der österreichische Unternehmer Dietrich „Didi“ Mateschitz (Mitte) hat kroatische Wurzeln ...("Football partnerships as a marketing strategy: the Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich "Didi" Mateschitz (center) has Croatian roots ...")
  6. ^ Matić, Srećko (16 November 2010). "Poduzetnik hrvatskog podrijetla "dao krila" Vettelu" [Businessman of Croatian descent "gave wings" to Vettel] (in Croatian). Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 28 December 2012. Danas se imovina ovog Austrijanca hrvatskog podrijetla (neki izvori navode da ima rodbinu na zadarskom području) procjenjuje na oko tri milijarde eura. U Sloveniji se naglašava da je Mateschitz - slovenskog podrijetla, obzirom da mu je otac iz Maribora. Sam Mateschitz za sebe kaže da je "kozmopolit iz Štajerske".
  7. ^ a b c The Soda With Buzz. Kerry A. Dolan. Forbes, p. 126, vol. 175, No. 6 (28 March 2005)
  8. ^ a b c d "Big man drives forward energy-packed brand" by Peter Klinger. The Times (London), 25 February 2006.
  9. ^ a b Red Bull CEO takes foot off gas. The Nation (Thailand). 26 November 2001.
  10. ^ Grabbing the drinks market by the horns. The Sunday Herald. 7 May 2000.
  11. ^ "Top Selling Energy Drink Brands". Caffeine Informer. 14 March 2016.
  12. ^ "About us". Wings For Life. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  13. ^ Profile,; accessed 3 May 2014.
  14. ^ "Marketing with wings: Dietrich Mateschitz and the art of branding". European CEO. 16 October 2013. Archived from the original on 9 May 2014. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
  15. ^ "Sauber to lose Red Bull sponsorship". 1 March 2001. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  16. ^ "Formula One News". Planet F1. Archived from the original on 13 March 2014. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
  17. ^ "Rosberg defeats Hamilton in Austrian thriller". Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  18. ^ "The Flying Bulls". The Flying Bulls. Retrieved 10 June 2014.

External links

This page was last edited on 19 February 2019, at 16:35
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