AIC President Hubert Benitez to Step Down

American International College (AIC) announced that Hubert Benitez plans to step down as president of the college at the end of the current academic year on June 7. Frank Colaccino, chair of the AIC board of trustees, said Nicolle Cestero, who serves as executive vice president and chief operating officer at AIC, will be appointed interim president immediately.

In accepting Benitez’s resignation, Colaccino said, “I thank President Benitez for the service he provided to AIC over the past two years. Hubert’s leadership in developing the AIC Reimagined strategic plan was exemplary, and AIC will continue to benefit from that leadership as we execute the strategic initiatives embedded in that strategic plan.”

In his letter of resignation, Benitez said, “I want to thank the board of trustees for the opportunity it has granted me to serve AIC. It has been rewarding work with a committed team of colleagues reimagining the future of the college. While there are still vast opportunities to advance the mission of AIC, the collective efforts and progress made to date on executing the institution’s strategic initiatives fill me with hope, and I trust that these efforts will bear fruit in the near future.”

He added that “I made this decision by engaging in a deep process of prayer and discernment, and after thoughtful consideration and reflection with my family, I have decided to focus on the next chapter of our lives.”

Colaccino said the tenure of Benitez’s service as president of the college was marked by a number of progressive actions designed to promote the mission of AIC and his effective leadership in the development of AIC Reimagined, the strategic plan that will guide the initiatives undertaken by the college during the coming years.

“AIC deeply appreciates the contributions made by President Benitez to the mission of the college during his tenure as president, and we wish him well as he embarks on the next new and different chapter of his life and his family’s life,” Colaccino added.

Cestero, who will serve as interim president until the next president is identified, has been with AIC since 2011 when she joined as associate vice president for Human Resources. She has served the college as chief of staff and most recently as executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Prior to joining AIC, her professional journey began in New York City at the Council on Foreign Relations, a leading nonpartisan foreign-policy think tank in the U.S., focused on disseminating information to members, government officials, and the public on matters of international significance. She holds an MBA degree from AIC, a master of arts degree from the University of West Florida, and a bachelor of arts degree from Mount Holyoke College.

According to Colaccino, as COO, Cestero has overseen the day-to-day operations of the college and played a key role in implementing AIC’s strategic plan.

Colaccino said AIC is in the process of engaging a search firm to assist with a national search for the next president.