Disappearance. Death of the founder of Red Bull, the Austrian Dietrich Mateschitz
Founder of the energy drink company Red Bull, the Austrian billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz, as secret as his firm was famous, especially in the world of sports marketing, died at the age of 78.
“Dierich Mateschitz passed away today,” management wrote in an email to employees on Saturday, expressing “sadness” and “gratitude for what he has accomplished.” According to the Austrian agency APA, he died of cancer.
Born on May 20, 1944, Dietrich Mateschitz had created Red Bull – « red bull » in English – in 1984, after discovering the beverage at the bar of a Hong Kong hotel. This shy personality was considered in 2022 by Forbes magazine as the first fortune of Austria, estimated at 27.4 billion euros.
A bold strategy
The entrepreneur had bet on sports sponsorship so as not to depend solely on the income generated by his energy drink as much as to offer him unparalleled exposure. In thirty years, the firm, which has established its sponsorship policy with extreme sports, has become an essential partner in world sport.
From high-flying diving (cliff diving) to wingsuit (freefall in a winged suit) via kitesurfing and up to the paroxysm of stratospheric freefall jumping during which the Austrian Felix Baumgartner broke the sound barrier in 2012, many extraordinary exploits have been marked with the two winged bulls.
Red Bull is also committed to two key disciplines in world sport, Formula 1 and football. The team’s Dutch driver, Max Verstappen, is world champion for the second consecutive year.
In 2005, Red Bull bought the football club of the Austrian city of Salzburg, then that of Leipzig in Germany. Both clubs have won trophies thanks to the brand’s significant investments. Red Bull also sponsors the athletes themselves, all disciplines combined. Among them, the famous Brazilian footballer Neymar, whom Red Bull regularly stages through mini-series.
Formula 1 in mourning
Christian Horner, boss of the Red Bull team in F1, reacted immediately from Austin (Texas) where the United States Grand Prix is held on Sunday. “It’s very, very sad, what a great man. It is one of a kind. What he has accomplished and what he has done for so many people around the world is unparalleled,” he told reporters. “A lot of us have to be grateful to him for the opportunities he provided, the vision he had, the strength of character. And never be afraid to follow your dreams and pursue them,” he added.
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali also said he was « deeply saddened », paying tribute to « a highly respected and much loved member of the Formula 1 family ». « He was an incredible visionary entrepreneur and a man who helped transform our sport and create the world famous Red Bull brand, » he said.
13,000 employees, in 172 countries
The Red Bull energy drink was born during one of his many business trips as the marketing director of a German cosmetics company, when he was served a sugary drink common in Asia at a luxury bar in Hong Kong. Impressed by the drink’s apparent ability to help him overcome his jet lag, Mateschitz decided to team up with Thai businessman Chaleo Yoovidhya, who developed the drink, to found Red Bull in 1984.
Based in a verdant valley in the Alps, in Fuschl-am-See, the drink slowly but surely conquered Western taste buds and the brand grew worldwide thanks to its shrewd marketing.
Today, Red Bull employs more than 13,000 people in 172 countries, with a turnover of around 8 billion euros, and sells nearly 10 billion cans a year.
Dietrich Mateschitz owned the paradise island of Laucala in Fiji and numerous properties in Austria. Never married, always in jeans, graying hair, Dieter Mateschitz will almost never give an interview to journalists. We just know he had a son.