Dietrich Mateschitz

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Dietrich Mateschitz
Born(1944-05-20)20 May 1944
Died22 October 2022(2022-10-22) (aged 78)
EducationVienna University of Economics and Business
Known forCo-founding Red Bull GmbH
ChildrenMark Mateschitz

Dietrich Markwart Eberhart Mateschitz (German: [ˈdiːtʁɪç ˈmaːtəʃɪts]; 20 May 1944 – 22 October 2022) was an Austrian billionaire businessman. He was the co-founder and 49% owner of Red Bull GmbH.[2] In April 2022, Mateschitz's net worth was estimated at US$27.4 billion.[3]

Mateschitz worked in marketing for Unilever and Blendax. While travelling in Thailand, he discovered the drink Krating Daeng, which he adapted into Red Bull. He founded Red Bull GmbH in 1984 and launched it in Austria in 1987. His company acquired or founded several sports teams around the world, including six-time Constructors' Champions Red Bull Racing and sister team AlphaTauri in Formula One, and association football teams including FC Red Bull Salzburg and RB Leipzig.

Early life and education[edit]

Mateschitz was born on 20 May 1944, in Sankt Marein im Mürztal, Styria, Austria,[4][5] to a family of Slovene or Croatian ancestry. His mother's side was from Styria, his father's side was from Maribor (now in Slovenia);[6][7] some sources place his ancestry in the area of Zadar where he allegedly had relatives and the surname Matešić was common. He declared himself a "Styrian cosmopolitan".[8][9] Both his parents were school teachers.[10] He attended the Hochschule für Welthandel (now Vienna University of Economics and Business), where after ten years, he graduated with a marketing degree in 1972.[6][11] He was keen and passionate about extreme sports at an early age.[12]


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),[13] where he worked on, among other things, the marketing of Blendax toothpaste.[14] It was as part of his travels for Blendax, on the way from Bangkok airport to the city centre, that Mateschitz bought a bottle of Krating Daeng, the drink that would later become Red Bull.[5][6] "One glass [of Krating Daeng] and the jet lag was gone", he recalled. Sensing the commercial opportunities of this drink in Europe, Mateschitz struck a partnership deal with the Thai businessman Chaleo Yoovidhya who had already been successfully selling Krating Daeng to lorry drivers and factory workers.[15]

In 1984, he founded Red Bull GmbH[16] with Yoovidhya, launching the brand in Austria in 1987.[5][14] Subsequently, he turned the Red Bull drink into a world market leader among energy drinks.[17] It was revealed that he worked on the formula for around three years before the modified drink was launched under the new name Red Bull in 1987.[12]

Mateschitz also owned Seitenblicke, Austria's top society magazine, but avoided the celebrity circuit and watched most Formula One races on TV despite owning two teams.[18] He also founded Media House in Austria in 2007 by providing various digital entertainment and thousands of hours of images to interested broadcasters.[19]

Mateschitz owned ServusTV, a television channel based in Salzburg. The channel was criticised for allegedly downplaying the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic.[19] The channel is considered to have a right-wing position, and was one of only three media outlets given a press pass to the "Defenders of Europe" conference of right-wing and far-right activists in October 2016.[20] In May 2016, Mateschitz announced he would shut down the channel as his employees had requested to form a works council; he changed his mind when no such council was formed.[21]


Mateschitz's brands are consistently marketed as associated with the physical and mental attributes needed for various types of extreme sports such as surfing, skydiving, cliff diving, winter sports and mountain biking through commercial sponsorship.[22] Under his tenure, Red Bull was widely acclaimed for its creative and intensive marketing of extreme sports.[23] The successful high altitude skydiving exploration from the edge of space which was carried out by Red Bull Stratos in collaboration with Felix Baumgartner in October 2012 is considered as one of the turning points in Red Bull's history in terms of its intensive marketing strategies in the context of extreme sports.[24][25]


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.[26] In November 2004, Mateschitz bought the failing Jaguar Racing Formula One team from its previous owners, Ford, and he renamed it as a full-blown Red Bull Racing team for the following season in 2005.[27] The fee was undisclosed.[28] Red Bull recruited former Formula-2 driver Christian Horner as team principal while also bringing one of the sport's leading design engineer Adrian Newey on board as the technical director for a salary of $10m.[29]

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.[30] This team was meant to serve as a Junior team to Red Bull Racing and was renamed as Scuderia Toro Rosso (Italian: Red Bull Stable) in 2006,[31] and then AlphaTauri in 2020.[32]

Sebastian Vettel won four consecutive Formula One championships while driving for Red Bull Racing.

Sebastian Vettel won the 2008 Italian Grand Prix for Toro Rosso. His victory at the 2009 Chinese Grand Prix was the first for Red Bull Racing.[33] In 2010, Red Bull Racing won the Formula One World Constructors' Championship and Vettel won the Drivers' Championship. They then went on to win both titles for the next three years running in 2011, 2012, and 2013.[34] Eight years later they won the Formula One World Drivers' Championship again with Max Verstappen in the 2021 season, while finishing runners-up in the Formula One World Constructors' Championship which was won by Mercedes. In the 2022 season, Verstappen retained his title, the sixth by a Red Bull driver.[35] Prior to Max Verstappen's heroics, Red Bull endured a rough patch and lean phase having gone winless in the Constructor's Championship for around eight years, coinciding with the arrival of F1's turbo-hybrid engines which first came into the picture in 2014 that even led to a fallout with their main engine supplier Renault. Red Bull made a dramatic turnaround in both 2021 and 2022 seasons albeit of a reunion with Honda which put an end to an eight-year title drought that was eluded largely due to the domination of Mercedes from 2014 to 2020.[36]

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.[37]

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.[38] 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.[39]

Football and ice hockey[edit]

FC Red Bull Salzburg celebrating the Austrian Bundesliga and Austrian Cup titles in 2016

In April 2005, he bought the Austrian football club SV Austria Salzburg, and in March 2006, he bought the American soccer team MetroStars; both clubs were subsequently renamed after his famous drink, as the Red Bull Salzburg and the New York Red Bulls, respectively.[40] In 2007, Red Bull founded Red Bull Brasil, a football team based in Campinas, São Paulo, and in 2019 the company acquired Clube Atlético Bragantino, also in the state of São Paulo.[41] In 2008, Red Bull founded Red Bull Ghana, a football academy in Sogakope which was sold to Dutch club Feyenoord in 2014.[42]

In May 2009, he founded the German football club RB Leipzig, after buying the license from SSV Markranstädt. They debuted in the Oberliga, the fourth tier of the German football league system. The team rose to the top-tier Bundesliga in 2016, made the UEFA Champions League semi-finals in 2020 and won the DFB-Pokal in 2022.[43]

He also owned the ice hockey clubs EC Red Bull Salzburg and EHC Red Bull München, which were acquired and rebranded in 2000 and 2012, respectively.[44]


Mateschitz was 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.[45]

Mateschitz personally donated 70 million euros to Paracelsus Medical University for a research center on spinal cord injuries.[46]

He also initiated the World Stunt Awards, an annual fundraiser to benefit his Taurus Foundation, which, according to its website, helps injured stunt professionals.[47]

Personal life and death[edit]

Mateschitz never married;[18] he had a son named Mark, who was born in May 1992.[48] As of the time of Mateschitz's death, his son was the managing director of one of his investment companies.[49] Mateschitz rarely gave interviews, and refused to answer questions about his son.[50] He remained a reclusive figure maintaining low profile despite his heavy involvement with Formula One.[51] He was also known for his simplicity of dress, often being seen wearing casual clothing, including denim pants and sunglasses.[19] Mateschitz was in a relationship with the mother of his son for two years, and later had a long-term partner named Marion Feichtner.[50] He was known as a recluse, stating "I don't believe in 50 friends. I believe in a smaller number. Nor do I care about society events. It's the most senseless use of time. When I do go out, from time to time, it's just to convince myself again that I'm not missing a lot".[50]

He held a pilot's licence and enjoyed flying a Falcon 900 and a Piper Super Cub.[18] He had his own hangar with a collection of old planes, including the last Douglas DC-6B ever produced, and which once belonged to Yugoslav Marshal Josip Broz Tito.[52]

Mateschitz and his Bundesliga club RB Leipzig faced backlash in 2017 over comments he made in a Kleine Zeitung interview[53] in which he suggested that Austria should close its borders to refugees and expressed his support for Donald Trump and other populist positions.[54] He went on to strongly criticize both the Government of Germany and the Government of Austria for their policies during the 2015 European migrant crisis.[55]

Mateschitz lived in Fuschl am See, Austria and also owned the island of Laucala in Fiji, which he bought from the Forbes family for £7 million.[18] He spent millions to acquire and conserve houses and castles in the Austrian Alps, saying "I want to enjoy these places myself, but I also want to take care of them".[50]

He died following a long period of treatment for pancreatic cancer, at his home in St. Wolfgang im Salzkammergut on 22 October 2022, at age 78.[56][57]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Museum, Stiftung Deutsches Historisches. "Gerade auf LeMO gesehen: LeMO Kapitel: NS-Regime".
  2. ^ "Red Bull Co-Funder Thai Tycoon Chaleo Dies". Associated Press. 17 March 2012. Retrieved 7 July 2023.
  3. ^ "Forbes profile: Dietrich Mateschitz". Forbes. 5 April 2022. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  4. ^ Museum, Stiftung Deutsches Historisches. "Gerade auf LeMO gesehen: LeMO Kapitel: NS-Regime".
  5. ^ a b c Tremayne, David (22 October 2022). "OBITUARY: Remembering Dietrich Mateschitz, Red Bull and AlphaTauri's quiet patriarch". Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  6. ^ a b c The Soda With Buzz. Kerry A. Dolan. Forbes, p. 126, vol. 175, No. 6 (28 March 2005)
  7. ^ "Dietrich Mateschitz – Munzinger Biographie". Retrieved 12 October 2020.
  8. ^ Cerar, Gregor (31 July 2012). "Ustanovitelj Red Bulla s slovenskimi koreninami" [The Founder of Red Bull with Slovenian Roots]. Dnevnik (in Slovenian). Retrieved 24 October 2022.
  9. ^ 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".
  10. ^ "Dietrich Mateschitz, marketing genius behind the energy drink Red Bull and Formula 1 team owner – obituary". The Telegraph. 23 October 2022. Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  11. ^ Solomon, Brian (15 October 2012). "Meet The Billionaire Behind Red Bull's Death-Defying Corporate Culture". Forbes. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  12. ^ a b "Red Bull founder, F1 team owner Mateschitz dies". ESPN. 22 October 2022. Retrieved 24 October 2022.
  13. ^ "P&G Buys German Company". AP NEWS. 9 November 1987. Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  14. ^ a b Red Bull CEO takes foot off gas. The Nation (Thailand). 26 November 2001.
  15. ^ "Dietrich Mateschitz obituary". The Times. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  16. ^ Grabbing the drinks market by the horns. The Sunday Herald. 7 May 2000.
  17. ^ "Top Selling Energy Drink Brands". Caffeine Informer. 14 March 2016.
  18. ^ a b c d "Big man drives forward energy-packed brand" by Peter Klinger. The Times (London), 25 February 2006.
  19. ^ a b c "Dietrich Mateschitz: Low-profile Austrian behind Red Bull empire". France 24. 23 October 2022. Retrieved 24 October 2022.
  20. ^ Leonhard, Ralf (5 October 2018). "Verständnis für Rechtsextreme" [Understanding of right-wing extremists]. Taz (in German). Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  21. ^ Mark, Oliver (10 May 2016). "Gewerkschaft: "Kein Kniefall" vor Mateschitz wegen Betriebsrats" [Union: "No kneeling" for Mateschitz because of works council]. Der Standard (in German). Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  22. ^ "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.
  23. ^ Lewis, Aimee (23 October 2022). "Formula One pays tribute to Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz". CNN. Retrieved 24 October 2022.
  24. ^ Howorth, Alasdair (14 October 2022). "Felix Baumgartner: 10 years on, the man who fell to Earth is still awed by experience". CNN. Retrieved 24 October 2022.
  25. ^ Rose, Andy (22 October 2022). "Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz dies, company says | CNN Business". CNN. Retrieved 24 October 2022.
  26. ^ "Sauber to lose Red Bull sponsorship". The Irish Times. 1 March 2001. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  27. ^ Media, P. A. (22 October 2022). "Red Bull co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz dies, aged 78, after long-term illness". the Guardian. Retrieved 24 October 2022.
  28. ^ Tran, Mark (15 November 2004). "Red Bull buys Jaguar F1 team". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  29. ^ "Red Bull co-owner Mateschitz dies aged 78". BBC Sport. Retrieved 24 October 2022.
  30. ^ "Red Bull confirms Minardi purchase". Grand Prix. 10 September 2005. Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  31. ^ "AlphaTauri – F1 Racing Team – Gasly, Tsunoda". Formula 1® – The Official F1® Website. Retrieved 23 October 2022. Established in 2006 as a squad in which young drivers from Red Bull's prodigious talent pool could cut their F1 teeth, AlphaTauri – originally named Toro Rosso – were formed from the ashes of the plucky Minardi team.
  32. ^ "AlphaTauri Year by Year – F1 Grand Prix Wins and Highlights". Retrieved 23 October 2022. 2020 – A new name brings new impetus and AlphaTauri emerge as a true midfield force ...
  33. ^ "Vettel springs Shanghai surprise by taking poll in Chinese grand prix". The Guardian. 18 April 2009. Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  34. ^ "Vettel wins fourth consecutive F1 world title". France 24. 27 October 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  35. ^ Fordham, Josh (9 October 2022). "'Have I or have I not? – Confusion as Max Verstappen wins 2022 Formula 1 World Championship with victory at chaotic Japanese Grand Prix". Talksport. Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  36. ^ "Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz passes away aged 78 | Formula 1®". Retrieved 24 October 2022.
  37. ^ Crossman, Matt (22 June 2011). "Red Bull Racing's departure from NASCAR brings unpleasant paradox". Mass Live. Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  38. ^ "Formula One News". Planet F1. Archived from the original on 13 March 2014. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
  39. ^ "Rosberg defeats Hamilton in Austrian thriller". Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  40. ^ "Red Bull buy NY Metrostars". World Soccer. 9 March 2006. Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  41. ^ Colombari, Emanuel (23 April 2019). "Red Bull assume gestão do Bragantino, que comemora sobrevivência do clube" [Red Bull assumes management of Bragantino, which commemorates survival of club] (in Portuguese). UOL. Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  42. ^ "Fetteh Feyenoord acquires Red Bull Academy in Ghana". Ghana Soccer Net. 1 August 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  43. ^ "From the fifth division to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals in 11 years: the history of RB Leipzig". Bundesliga. Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  44. ^ Kemmner, Jürgen (23 October 2022). "Der Mann der vielen Gesichter" [The man of many faces]. Stuttgarter Nachrichten (in German). Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  45. ^ "About us". Wings For Life. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  46. ^ Neuper, Manfred; Zottler, Markus (24 October 2022). "Didi Mateschitz ist tot: Milliardär und Mäzen, zwischen Fuschl, Fidschi und Fischteich". Kleine Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  47. ^ "Philosophy". Taurus World Stunt Awards. Retrieved 23 October 2022. ...members of the Taurus™ World Stunt Academy, who are all in the Stunt industry themselves,... all are eligible to apply for financial assistance from the Taurus™ World Stunt Awards™ Foundation. Members that have been hurt or disabled in a work related accident are eligible ... The Taurus™ World Stunt Awards were envisioned by Red Bull Energy Drink CEO Dietrich Mateschitz and benefits the Taurus™ World Stunt Awards Foundation.
  48. ^ "Mark Mateschitz". Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Archived from the original on 29 December 2022.
  49. ^ "Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz dies aged 78". Reuters. 23 October 2022. Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  50. ^ a b c d Eder, Marton (23 October 2022). "Reclusive Red Bull billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz dies at 78". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  51. ^ "Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz dies aged 78 – DW – 10/23/2022". Retrieved 24 October 2022.
  52. ^ "The Flying Bulls". The Flying Bulls. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
  53. ^ Patterer, Hubert; Nöhrer, Gerhard (8 April 2017). "Dietrich Mateschitz im Interview: Red Bull-Chef rechnet mit Österreichs Flüchtlingspolitik ab" [Dietrich Mateschitz in interview: Red Bull CEO calls Austria's refugee policy to account]. Kleine Zeitung (in German). Austria. Retrieved 23 October 2021.
  54. ^ Tamsut, Felix (30 August 2019). "RB Leipzig, Red Bull CEO Dietrich Mateschitz and politics: It's complicated". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 23 October 2021.
  55. ^ "Red Bull: Shitstorm nach Aussagen von Mateschitz". Kleine Zeitung (in German). 6 November 2018. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  56. ^ F. Schuetze, Christopher (24 October 2022). "Dietrich Mateschitz, Creator of the Red Bull Empire, Dies at 78". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  57. ^ "Mit 78 Jahren verstorbenBericht: Red-Bull-Boss Mateschitz lehnte Chemotherapie ab". (in German). 24 October 2022.

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