FIU Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management names new Chair and Vice Chair and welcomes new Board member

FIU Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management names new Chair and Vice Chair and welcomes new Board member

MIAMI – Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management appoints hospitality alumnus John McKibbon ’75 as Chair of the Dean’s Executive Advisory Board (EAB) with fellow alumna, Norma Becker ’82 as Vice Chair. In addition, it welcomes a new board member, Matias Pesce, MSF ’18, CEO of Vida & Estilo, a Miami and Las Vegas-based restaurant and hotel hospitality group. The trio and 18 other board members will continue to advise Michael Cheng, dean of the Chaplin School, and support the top 8 ranked hospitality school’s mission to educate future hospitality leaders.

I am truly grateful for the amazing leaders who have given their precious time, resources, and expertise to guide me and my faculty and staff towards our mission of transforming hospitality and tourism, one learner at a time, for a lifetime, said Cheng.

The EAB encompasses industry leaders from all sectors of the hospitality industry, who contribute real-world relevance and knowledge of industry trends, challenges, and best practices. Industry collaboration is essential in assuring all academic activities are aligned with industry needs and enhances the Chaplin School’s reputation and credibility.

The new positions include:

Chair John McKibbon ‘75 – Chairman, McKibbon Hotel Group

John McKibbon has worked in the hospitality industry since he was a teenager and is the third generation to run McKibbon Hotel Group. He became President in 1992 and began expanding through development with Marriott, Hilton, and Starwood. McKibbon is a past President of the Courtyard by Marriott Franchise Council and the Residence Inn by Marriott Association. He was honored by his alma mater, Florida International University, in 2009 with the FIU Medallion for Outstanding Alumnus. In 2021, McKibbon contributed the single largest individual gift to the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management, leading to the creation of the McKibbon ’75 Alumni Experience. He serves on various community boards in Tampa, Florida, including Metropolitan Ministries and Florida Health Sciences Center, Inc.

Vice Chair Norma Becker ’82 – President, Titan Group of New York, LLC

Norma Becker’s hospitality career began at The Fontainebleau Hilton on Miami Beach and then with assignments at The Waldorf-Astoria, New York Hilton, and Washington Hilton. She then moved to Boston where she shifted to food & beverage, managing a five-star restaurant in The Hyatt Regency Cambridge. After other top executive roles, Becker became an entrepreneur opening her own all-natural organic cafe, Café Norma, and even added professor to her portfolio at Les Roches Jin Jiang as part of their globally recognized faculty. Since 2012, Becker has turned her 30+ year career and specialty in hotel, resort, and restaurant pre-openings into the Titan Group of New York, a strategic consulting firm in the global hospitality space.

Matias Pesce, MSF ’18 – Chief Executive Officer, Vida & Estilo, CEO & Owner, V&E Hospitality Group

Matias Pesce is the leading force behind the hospitality group Vida & Estilo, which means Life and Style in Spanish. Since joining the group in 2017, Pesce has been responsible for overseeing the company’s strategy, its operations and performance, corporate governance, and expansion plans nationwide. Pesce has more than 20 years of global executive experience, leading and managing multicultural teams throughout Latin America and the United States. Under his leadership, V&E Restaurant Group has made a mark on enhancing corporate governance, and key business process, as well as improving the financial wealth of the group, transforming V&E into a sustainable, profitable and solid organization.

McKibbon, Becker, and Pesce are part of an already impressive Chaplin School Executive Advisory Board, that also includes:

  • Bruce Blum ’82, President & Founder, Liberty Hotel Advisors, LLC
  • Wayne Chaplin, Chief Executive Officer, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits
  • Jose Cil, Advisor, RBI Restaurant Brands International
  • George Corton ‘03 MBA ‘14, Managing Principal, Westside Capital Group
  • Valerie Ferguson, Director of Lodging, Deluxe Resorts at Walt Disney World
  • Philip Goldfarb ’79, President and COO, Fontainebleau Miami Beach & Fontainebleau Development
  • Lynne Hernandez, Regional President, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association
  • Wendy Kallergis, President & Chief Executive Officer, Greater Miami & The Beaches Hotel Association
  • Lani Kane-Hanan ’87, MS ’04, CEO, Open Network Exchange
  • Duffy Keys ’75, Co-Founder, B Cellars Vineyards and Winery
  • Jenny Lucas, Senior Vice President of Operations & Learning, Loews Hotels
  • Edwin Mugnani ‘91, Chief Operating Officer, Krafted Kitchen
  • Jan Rosenveld ‘90 MS ‘91, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Fare Thee Well Hospitality, Sentral
  • Rainer Shindler ‘87 MS ‘89, Founder, Ragold Inc.
  • Adam Stewart ’03, Executive Chairman & CEO, Sandals Resort International
  • Stephen Von Oehsen, Senior Vice President, Office of Strategic Management, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, Executive-in-Residence, Chaplin School
  • Regynald Washington ’74, Retired, Former President of Paradies Lagardè Travel, Retail Dining Division
  • David Whitaker, President & CEO, Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau


Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management is a Top 10 hospitality school among U.S. Public Universities and ranked 35th in the world. More than 1,200 undergraduate and graduate students from across the nation and around the globe choose FIU for its outstanding reputation, advantageous campus locations in Miami, expert faculty, rich curriculum and real career opportunities in the international hotel, foodservice, beverage and spirits management, travel, tourism, revenue management, entertainment, and mega and large-scale event industries. As the leading diverse hospitality program with over 70% women and students from 74 countries represented, Chaplin School graduates more undergraduate Black, Hispanic and International students than any other school. For more information about Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management, visit


Florida International University is a top public university that drives real talent and innovation in Miami and globally. Very high research (R1) activity and high social mobility come together at FIU to uplift and accelerate learner success in a global city by focusing in the areas of environment, health, innovation, and justice. Today, FIU has two campuses and multiple centers. FIU serves a diverse student body of more than 56,000 and 270,000 Panther alumni. U.S. News and World Report places dozens of FIU programs among the best in the nation, including international business at No. 2. Washington Monthly Magazine ranks FIU among the top 20 public universities contributing to the public good.

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