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Illustration of Thomas Flohr, founder, chairman and 100-per-cent owner of VistaJet. (ANTHONY JENKINS FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL)
Illustration of Thomas Flohr, founder, chairman and 100-per-cent owner of VistaJet. (ANTHONY JENKINS FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

THE LUNCH

VistaJet’s Thomas Flohr: A collector with a view from the clouds Add to ...

Certainly, he doesn’t give the impression that he’s struggling. He sponsors his daughter, who is working on a real estate project in Madagascar and is famous for hosting lavish parties. Her 18th birthday was an historical extravaganza, held in St. Petersburg, Russia, that WSJ Magazine called a “Hollywood-worthy production.” It featured 300 guests and the actors came dressed as Bolshevik peasants, Soviet soldiers and imperial Russian royalty.

Mr. Flohr himself races cars and has twice put himself and an old Porsche 911 RS through the 4,500-kilometre East African Safari Rally. In the 2011 edition, a flash flood swamped the car, putting him out of contention. He now pilots GT3 cars in world circuit races.

His modern art collection is superb, is biased toward street art and includes pieces by Jeff Koons, Keith Haring and Sterling Ruby. The London gallery can be seen “by appointment only,” he says.

But it is Bombardier business jets that he is most interested in collecting and he gives no hint that, a decade after VistaJet’s launch, he’s ready to slow down or sell out.

Bombardier could not be happier. “I am the biggest Bombardier customer in the world,” he says. “And the Global is the best product in the industry.”

CURRICULUM VITAE

Personal: Father of Nina Flohr, 26, trained in marketing and branding. “I was a single dad. raised her.”

Favourite pastimes: Playing squash and cooking. “I love to cook Italian food. It’s the only thing that destresses me.”

Favourite author: Hermann Hesse (author of Steppenwolf)

Favourite food: Italian

Favourite drinks: “A great glass of red wine and mojitos.”

Favourite holiday destination: Anywhere in Africa, especially Kenya.

Modern artists collected: Keith Haring, Richard Hambleton, Retna, Ian Davenport

Car used in East Africa rallies: Classic 1976 Porsche 911, without a turbo engine or four-wheel drive

IN HIS OWN WORDS

What he wants to be when he grows up: “The same young man I am today.”

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