Former cruise exec Lisa Lutoff-Perlo named CEO of 2026 World Cup Miami Host Committee

Lisa Lutoff-Perlo spent 39 years with Royal Caribbean as an executive of one of the world’s largest cruise ship companies, most recently as CEO of Celebrity Cruises, building the brand, driving growth, and working to ensure passengers got a first-class experience.

Now, she will lean on that hospitality background as she has been tasked with making sure it is smooth sailing for the FIFA World Cup 2026 Miami Host Committee.

On Wednesday Lutoff-Perlo was named CEO and president of the Miami host committee, one of the only former CEOs from outside the sports world to have that post.

Lutoff-Perlo and her team will seek collaboration between South Florida’s public and private sector leaders in preparation for the arrival of an estimated 600,000 fans to the region in summer 2026. Hard Rock Stadium will host seven matches, including the third-place bronze medal game, and there will be many fan events and surrounding festivities in the area over a five-week period that summer.

“Ultimately, at the end of the day, my team will be responsible for pulling off the seven matches in Miami and making them extraordinarily successful, both from an experiential as well as a financial perspective,” Lutoff-Perlo told the Miami Herald. “This is like seven Super Bowls, so the magnitude of it is Super Bowl on steroids. There are so many stakeholders. It is a complex logistical puzzle and you have to keep customers happy.”

During the next 90 days, Lutoff-Perlo will put the blueprint together, complete the host city agreement paperwork with FIFA, develop sponsor packages, identify a list of big sponsors they would like to approach, and start a communication plan to build excitement in the community.

“The [Lionel] Messi factor in Miami is huge, the [David] Beckham factor in Miami is huge, Miami is the epicenter for Europe, the Caribbean and South America and the mecca of soccer in the United States,” she said. Royal Caribbean is the jersey sponsor for Inter Miami, making the cruise line a logical candidate to be a Miami World Cup sponsor.

Having the FIFA 2026 World Cup headquarters based in Coral Gables is a bonus for the Miami host committee, which is also seeking office space in Coral Gables to be in close proximity to the FIFA office.

“The spotlight will be on Miami as an international business and lifestyle capital during FIFA World Cup 2026. We sought a CEO and leader who understands this opportunity and brings a global perspective, true vision, and tremendous passion to deliver an unforgettable experience for fans while maximizing the economic impact for the region,” said Rodney Barreto, chairman and CEO of the Barreto Group, and co-chair of the Miami Host Committee.

“Lisa has all these traits, and her extraordinary business and hospitality experience will help her rise to this monumental occasion to foster both an original and bottom-line approach that will make us the envy of the North American host cities.”

Her World Cup leadership team will include Janelle Prieto as chief marketing and community officer and Ray Martinez as chief operating officer.

Prior to joining the FIFA World Cup 26 operations team, Miami native Prieto led corporate communications, public relations and social responsibility for Concacaf and served as Vice President of Communications, Marketing, and Community Partnerships for the Miami Super Bowl LIV Host Committee.

Martinez served as president and executive director for the 2020 Miami Super Bowl Committee, and has more than 35 years of law enforcement experience, including as Miami Beach chief of police. He also was a consultant for the College Football Playoff 2021 National Championship Game and led security for Ultra Music Festival.

“It’s exciting times for Miami-Dade and South Florida as the community prepares and plans for the World Cup 2026. Today’s news that Lisa Lutoff-Perlo will lead the professional team as CEO and President is great momentum as the work continues to get ready for 2026,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, who serves as head of the host committee advisory board.

“I have great trust that the Board of Directors comprised of community and business leaders will work alongside the leadership of Lisa and her team to make sure South Florida shines on the global stage during this once-in-a-lifetime event.”