Dietrich Mateschitz, an exceptional success
Dietrich Mateschitz was born in St. Marein in the Mürztal – worked for Jacobs Kaffee and Blendax, then a subsidiary of Unilever, after graduating from university. At the toothpaste manufacturer, he became marketing manager. During one of his business trips to Asia, he learned about stimulant drinks. He saw the potential of the product and decided to launch it in Europe. Mateschitz acquired the licensing rights to the Thai energy drink “Krating Daeng”, or “Red Bull” in English, and founded the company with the Thai manufacturing family Yoovidhya.
Right from the start, Mateschitz worked massively on the image of his drink, sponsored the alternative club and extreme sports scene and constantly reinvested considerable sums in marketing. With growing success, he gradually entered popular sports: Today, Red Bull manages ice hockey teams, soccer clubs and Formula 1 teams and has contracts with several hundred athletes.
Today, Mateschitz is not only the richest Austrian, but one of the richest men in the world. Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz is ranked 51st in the Forbes ranking of the world’s richest people in 2022. With a fortune of US$27.4 billion, he is by far the richest Austrian. However, the self-confessed jeans wearer almost never puts himself in the center of attention, but at most his product. “Didi”, as his friends call him, is considered shy of the public. Newspaper interviews are rare and he never gives television interviews.
In 2014, “Mr. Red Bull” brought Formula 1 back to Styria with the Austrian Grand Prix and is a partner of the Austrian military at the Airpower air show. In doing so, he has given a boost to a region that was suffering particularly from the decline of heavy industry. The “Flying Bulls”, a fleet of historic airplanes and helicopters, and “Hangar 7” at Salzburg Airport are evidence of his passion for aviation.
Mateschitz has long held back his political views – until he harshly criticized the government’s handling of the refugee crisis in the “Kleine Zeitung” in 2017. He also criticized the hypocrisy of the “We can do it” callers, denounced the Greens and praised Sebastian Kurz, then foreign minister. After the interview, there was talk in many places of an electoral recommendation for the ÖVP and FPÖ.
Open criticism of Mateschitz and his company is rare. “He is the master of a closed system, an armored world from which only the desire for athletes, the passion for risk and the greed for success should escape,” writes the German daily FAZ. And he is the master of an apparatus that offers employees a lot, but also asks a lot of them.
Mateschitz, who lives in Salzburg with his longtime girlfriend Marion Feichtner, once said he drinks ten to twelve cans of Red Bull every day. His companions praise him as a visionary who constantly strives to make his ideas a reality and leaves nothing to chance. At the age of 78, he still makes the important decisions within the group himself and his only son Mark is set up as a possible successor to the company’s empire. The 27-year-old comes from a previous relationship with Mateschitz, has now adopted his surname and has gained a foothold in the company as general manager of Red Bull’s own brewery “Thalheim”.