Red Bull Co-Founder Dies in Thailand

March 19, 2012 by  

Red Bull Co-Founder Chaleo Yoovidhya Dies

Chaleo Yoovidhya, co-founder of energy drink giant Red Bull died of natural causes this past Saturday in his native Thailand. He was 88.

Mr. Yoovidhya founded the company with Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz in 1987, and grew the brand from zero to selling a reported 4.4 billion cans last year, in 162 countries.

Red Bull remains a privately-held company, and has made its founders multi-billionaires. Yoovidhya was worth an estimated five billion dollars at the time of his death (making him the third wealthiest person in Thailand)

The brand has been involved in BMX Racing for several years, through its “Red Bull Helmet” sponsorship of top athletes such as Mike Day and Corben Sharrah in the US, and Mariana Pajon and Sifiso Nhlapo in Colombia and South Africa, respectively.

In the early 1960s, Yoovidhya developed a beverage containing sugar, caffeine and other ingredients, called “Krating Daeng,” which means “red bull” in his native Thai. The drink became a hit with truck drivers, construction workers and others who needed to sustain performance on long shifts. Mateschitz discovered Krating Daeng on a trip to Asia in the early 1980s, declared it a magical cure for his chronic jetlag, and the two soon formed a partnership to market the drink, beginning in Austria in 1987.

The partners invested $500,000 each to establish a 49/49 ownership in the new company, with the remaining 2 percent going to Yoovidhya’s son, Sarawut.

Mateschitz runs the company, based in Fuschl am See, Austria, and it is expected there will be no material change to operations resulting from Mr. Yoovidhya’s death.

“The Nation” newspaper reported that Mr. Yoovidhya was married twice and had 11 children.

—Mike Carruth


Video: Red Bull – How an Empire Was Created

This article appeared as the Speedco Top Story on March 19, 2012

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