The spectacular biography of the man who guided the fortunes of Porsche and BMW through times of great uncertainty. He worked for Emperor Franz Joseph and Mussolini, employed Ferdinand Porsche and became the owner of BMW. Writer and journalist Karl Kraus referred to Castiglioni as »the epitome of speculation«.
»The Shark«, »the Bloodsucker«, »the inflation profiteer«: born in Trieste in 1879, investor and business tycoon Camillo Castiglioni was the target of all the usual negative clichés— clichés that clung to his persona throughout his life. As a young man he was passionate about anything with wheels or wings; he went on to become the director of the Austrian-American Rubber Company, played a major role in steering the fortunes of automobile and aircraft engine manufacturer Austro-Daimler, made a spectacular balloon ascent with his chief engineer Ferdinand Porsche – circling the spires of Vienna’s St. Stephen's Cathedral –, and became the Austro-Hungarian Ministry of War’s major supplier. After World War I he bought up an international business empire—an empire that included BMW. He financed the theatrical career of director Max Reinhardt in Salzburg and Vienna before going bankrupt in spectacular fashion. Castiglioni survived World War II holed up in San Marino disguised as a monk.
Reinhard Schlüter’s biography is learned and brimming with facts and information, yet Castiglioni’s life reads as grippingly as a film script.