Farewell cash gift for staff and teary goodbye for founder

(From left) Zouk managing director Esther Soh, financial director Anthony Wong, executive director Adeline Cheng, executive chairman Lincoln Cheng and Mr Cheng's daughter, Isabel.
(From left) Zouk managing director Esther Soh, financial director Anthony Wong, executive director Adeline Cheng, executive chairman Lincoln Cheng and Mr Cheng's daughter, Isabel.PHOTO: DANIEL NEO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

There was a touch of showbiz amid the high emotions when Zouk founder Lincoln Cheng bid farewell to his staff last night.

Standing in the middle of the dance floor, he thanked his employees for their contributions in making the famous club a success.

"It's not a personal effort; it is totally a team effort," he said.

"I think I have done my best, we have done our best... At my age, 68, I don't think I can bring it any higher. I should step down and pass the baton to the next generation. The next generation can bring Zouk worldwide."

Many were seen wiping away tears as their former boss spoke.

As a token of appreciation, Mr Cheng is giving every staff member between $400 and $800 "out of his own pocket".

Mr Nehru, a 32-year-old bar supervisor who goes by only one name, told The Straits Times that he has been working at Zouk for five years. He said: "I don't care about the money. It's a sad occasion for all of us. We have been working here like a family. Mr Cheng's departure is like losing a family member."

Mr Cheng's wife, Adeline, who is Zouk's executive director, managing director Esther Soh and financial director Anthony Wong are also stepping down.

Ms Soh said: "I am gratified to add that it is precisely this great team spirit and family culture that has contributed, in part, to the success of what Zouk is today."

Mr Cheng also introduced the staff to "the dynamic team" that aims to grow Zouk internationally - Mr Lim Keong Hui, Genting Hong Kong's executive director, Mr Andrew Li, the firm's vice-president of lifestyle and food and beverage concepts, and new Zouk managing director Benny Heng.

Joyce Lim

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 22, 2015, with the headline 'Farewell cash gift for staff and teary goodbye for founder'. Print Edition | Subscribe