While CEOs oftentimes work primarily behind the scenes away from the general public, there are some exceptions. In the investing world, a number of prominent names come to mind, with Warren Buffett being a prime example. Outside of finance, Dietrich Mateschitz, the Austrian billionaire and leader of Red Bull, the energy drink company is one of those new names.
Why has Mateschitz emerged from the shadows of obscurity to become more of a public figure, and what are his plans?
Who Is Dietrich Mateschitz?
Mateschitz was born in 1944 in Styria, Austria. He eventually graduated from the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration with a degree in marketing. He held jobs early in his career at Unilever, the German cosmetics outfit Blendax, and more. In his work marketing Blendax toothpaste, he discovered a drink called Krating Daeng.
In 1984, Mateschitz founded his own company, Red Bull GmbH, selling a product based on Krating Daeng and formed a working partnership in Austria in 1987 with Thai businessman Chaleo Yoovidhya and his son Chalerm. Since then, Red Bull has gone on to become one of the very most popular energy drinks around the world, and Mateschitz has become a billionaire through his company.
Mateschitz as a Media Mogul
Mateschitz has been highly involved with sports throughout his career, owning stakes in a number of teams and leading Red Bull to become deeply connected with the sports world. From 2007 to 2011, Matsechitz was a co-founder of the Red Bull Racing Team, which competed in NASCAR until it suspended operations and sold its cars to a competing team.
He has also increasingly become outspoken politically. Though he is generally quite reluctant to give interviews, a recent feature in Austrian media outlet Kleine Zeitung revealed his intentions to launch a media platform called "Näher an die Wahrheit," translated as "Closer to the Truth."
"Closer to the Truth" will be a German-language platform supporting right-wing news. It has drawn early comparisons with the U.S. far right platform Breitbart. Mateschitz has reportedly indicated his plans to keep this new project separate from the Red Bull company and its various interests, according to Crack Magazine.
Mateschitz's intentions to launch a media platform makes him the latest in a line of billionaires around the globe to develop plans to exert influence politically and in other non-business areas. Given his exceptional success as a marketer throughout his career and particularly with Red Bull, some analysts expect that "Closer to the Truth" will be a force to be reckoned with in the German news market.
While details such as launch date and specific content remain scarce, the project has drawn attention both within German-speaking countries and farther afield as well. Exactly how Mateschitz will exert his considerable influence on the world of media remains to be seen.