Leading A Legancy
Prestige Singapore|November 2021
Andrew Li, CEO of Zouk group, tells nafeesa saini how he is revolutionising the beloved singapore con and putting it on the global map through community and connection.
Nafeesa Saini

It is 3.30 am on a Saturday night in 2014 and the main room at Zouk in Jiak Kim Street is packed. The beat to a popular Electronic Dance Music (EDM) track drops and the crowd goes wild as the strobe lights flash. Nights like these were routine for clubbers like me in my early twenties when we spent weekends downing sour plum shots and traipsing through the club’s interconnected rooms. Like the generations before us, Zouk was where we came of age.

Singapore’s oldest nightclub is the birthplace of the city’s dance music scene, and has hosted some of the world’s biggest names over the last few decades, from trance legend Paul Oakenfold to EDM favourite Hardwell. The former warehouse space was also a hotbed of underground music; in the ’90s, it was the stomping ground for alternative musicians like Grace Jones and esteemed local personalities like the late tabla player M.S. Maniam.

“It was an institution where people grew up. It’s seldom that you’ll see a club with a multi-generational purpose,” says Andrew Li, CEO of Zouk Group.

For nearly 25 years, Zouk remained an indomitable nightlife destination. Things were shaken up when it underwent two transformations: The first was its 2015 acquisition by Genting Hong Kong, and the second its 2016 relocation to Clarke Quay after the lease expiry of its Jiak Kim premises. Last year, it was sold to Tulipa, a Malaysian firm owned by Lim Keong Hui, the heir of Genting Hong Kong.

Today, Zouk has ventured far from its roots, attributable to an ongoing nightlife shutdown, and a rapid and recent expansion. The man at the helm has transcended the brand way beyond nightlife to encompass dining and fitness concepts. The 39-year-old Andrew has been leading Zouk Group for six years now, steering the ship through stormy weather, even expanding the group’s reach abroad during the pandemic.

“It took us five years to do what normal companies do in 10 years because we’ve grown so exponentially,” says Andrew. Yet, despite the vision and ambition necessary to drive the Zouk brand, he has never been one to chase career goals.

Born to a Malaysian mother and a Hong Konger father, Andrew is the middle child in the family of three boys. His formative years laid the foundation for leadership. After attending an international school in Hong Kong, he was sent to a boarding school in the UK.

He likens the initiation ceremonies to the stories of bullying in Enid Blyton books. When he became captain of the judo team, he looked out for others. “It allowed the juniors under me to gain self-confidence in themselves and not get picked on.”

After graduating from Durham University, Andrew entered the world of hospitality as a graduate management trainee. At the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, he got a reality check when he worked in the housekeeping department. It sowed the seeds of his management style early on.

“It was impactful as I learnt how everybody is needed to make an ecosystem work. The respect you give people at the bottom should be equal to that for people at the top.”

Later as chief operating officer of Prive Group Hong Kong, he was poached by Genting Hong Kong in 2015. By the end of that year, the opportunity for the Zouk CEO role came up.

A NEW ERA

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM PRESTIGE SINGAPOREView All

Complex Desires

Each piece from the Sixième Sens par Cartier High Jewellery collection is created with superlative savoir faire. Allyson Klass discovers the exquisite gems and intricate techniques behind three extraordinary rings in this exclusive feature.

4 mins read
Prestige Singapore
January 2022

Van Cleef & Arpels's Masterfully Transformed Gold

Van Cleef & Arpels has masterfully transformed gold through various textures, techniques and themes over time, illustrating the breadth and richness of its style. Allyson Klass writes.

3 mins read
Prestige Singapore
January 2022

Scotch Whisky Tourism Is A Real Thing!

Scotch whisky tourism is a real thing, attracting a record 2.16 million visitors in 2019. And if the recently opened, eight-floor Johnnie Walker Princes Street visitor experience in Edinburgh for the world’s best-selling Scotch whisky is anything to go by, the optimism for future growth is justified.

2 mins read
Prestige Singapore
January 2022

Patek Philippe Enriches Its Vast Repertoire Of Chronographs

Patek Philippe enriches its vast repertoire of chronographs with three new models that illustrate the maison’s expertise in the measurement of short intervals of time.

5 mins read
Prestige Singapore
January 2022

Clic-Clac By Henry Jacques - A Fusion Of Fragrance And Fashion

A fusion of fragrance and fashion, the old and new, the utilitarian and extravagant, is the Clic-Clac by Henry Jacques. The maison’s CEO Anne-lise Cremona tells Yanni Tan in a Singapore-exclusive how the ultra-luxurious solid perfume accessory is a trailblazer.

4 mins read
Prestige Singapore
January 2022

Something For Everyone

Bvlgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin shares with Florey D Mikil the new models, from Octo Roma to Divas’ Dream to Gérald Genta, presented at Geneva Watch Days 2021.

4 mins read
Prestige Singapore
January 2022

June Goh-Rin About The Storms She Has Weathered And Lessons Learnt

Throughout the challenges of the last two years, June Goh-Rin did not lose an ounce of optimism. She tells Annabel Tan about the storms she has weathered, lessons learnt, as well as the wisdom she is taking into this brand new year.

7 mins read
Prestige Singapore
January 2022

Spirit Of The City

After a lengthy hiatus, Vivienne Tam has debuted a new direction in her hometown. The godmother of Hong Kong fashion gives Gennady Oreshkin a peek into her mind, in which mythology and her personal philosophy meet to create a radically new vision for her first gender-fluid collection.

4 mins read
Prestige Singapore
January 2022

BMW M240i xDrive Coupe Review

The BMW M240i xDrive Coupe was such a hoot to drive along mountain passes and motorways, says Tony Tan, who travels to Munich to test-drive the new model.

6 mins read
Prestige Singapore
January 2022

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust - Perfectly Poised

All is calm and all is bright in the fully embellished – yet perfectly poised – Rolex Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust.

4 mins read
Prestige Singapore
December 2021