Leading, Never Following: The Story of Lawrence Ho, Melco’s Young and Dynamic Chairman and CEO
October 1, 2018
Lawrence Ho took over Melco before he was 30 years old, reversed the company’s downward trend in Asia and redirected the focus that made the Philippine casino stock the best performing in the world
Lawrence Ho leads and never follows. This is the dynamic that the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Melco Resorts Leisure & Entertainment Ltd. instills within the workforce of the gaming and casino resort company operating throughout Asia. Mr. Ho flew to Manila last week to recognize the exceptional performance and dedication of City of Dreams Manila staff. Two years ago, Melco in the Philippines was hailed as the best performing casino stock in the world. This year, shares of Melco Resorts and Entertainment Philippines Corp increased by as much as 11.8 percent.
The charismatic and visionary CEO has brought the company to the forefront of the hospitality industry. Two years after completing his bachelor’s degree in commerce from the University of Toronto, the son of casino tycoon Stanley Ho redirected the business towards entertainment and leisure, effectively reversing a downtrend and setting the course towards a robust financial position that it now enjoys.
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Changing the Game
When asked in an exclusive interview with Lifestyle Asia whether the shift had been a strategic business move or an expression of his personal values, his answers were comprehensive and succinct. “It’s often difficult to separate my personal values from Melco’s business strategy,” he articulated. “Alongside my passions and beliefs, they inform a lot of the company’s activities and initiatives.”
Mr. Ho continued, “I believed in the importance of entertainment right from the start ten years ago. And when I say entertainment, I mean everything from our amazing live shows, to the incredible restaurants we’ve created, the unique retail experiences we offer, and art and design that we weave into our properties. I want every one of our guests to be thrilled by the unique experiences we deliver, and that is most definitely both a personal desire and a business strategy.”
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His latest feat is the glittering Morpheus Hotel that opened recently in Macau. The extraordinary structure, which was conceptualized by the late Zaha Hadid, was named by Time magazine as one of the World’s Greatest Places just two months after it was inaugurated. The exoskeletal, high-rise is an architectural first that holds, among others two Alain Ducasse restaurants covering one floor and a gravity-defying swimming pool 130m above the ground.
“Morpheus solidifies Melco’s position as a global premium brand as we continue to expand our offerings around the world,” Mr. Lawrence Ho says. When asked about how the City of Dreams in Manila situates within Melco’s overall plans, he says, “We’ve all been excited at how City of Dreams Manila has captured the imagination of Filipinos, and raised the bar across the board for entertainment both nationally and internationally. The property attracts people from all around the world and has helped reshape the tourism landscape of Manila.”
He adds, “As our first integrated resort outside Macau, Manila will always hold a special place for us, and its success confirms what we believe in, that our blend of East and West has a broad and compelling appeal. So building on what we’ve already achieved to date is something we are actively planning for.”
Regular Manila Visitor
During his Manila visit, Mr. Ho thanked the awardees and colleagues at the Manila property for being part of the Melco family. He also took the occasion to visit the soon-to-open VR Zone and food park, The Garage, which is another trailblazing facility for fun and food lovers to immerse in virtual reality entertainment and different gastronomic experiences.
Read the full cover story of Lawrence Ho in Lifestyle Asia’s October 2018 Edition, titled the Power Issue. Run to the nearest bookstore for your print copy or download the FLIP100 app for a digital version.