January 28, 2023
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Mission Linen names new CEO


Mission Linen Supply, one of the largest privately held companies in the region, has named a new president and CEO following the retirement of executive Karl Willig.

Santa Barbara-based Mission Linen, a linen and uniform rental service with about 2,500 employees across the U.S., said July 25 that John Ross is its new president and CEO, effective immediately.

Ross was promoted to the chief executive position from his previous role as Mission Linen’s vice president of operations. He joined the firm in December 2012. Before that, he worked in leadership positions at Cintas Corp., a publicly traded work uniform company based in Ohio, and at Swisher Hygiene, a North Carolina-based firm that offers hygiene services to large employers.

“I am excited about this opportunity and look forward to working with the Mission team to strengthen and grow our company while continuing to provide outstanding products and services to our customers,” Ross said in a news release.

Ross has also been named to the company’s board of directors. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and served for five years as a commissioned officer in the Army. He received an MBA from UC Irvine.

“John is as close to a perfect fit for leading Mission Linen as one could hope to find. His education, training and work experience have prepared him to lead this company aggressively into the future,” Willig said in a news release. The company said Willig helped to identify Ross as his successor.

Willig, a former tech executive who took the helm in 2009, remains with the firm as executive vice chairman of its board of directors.

Founded in 1930 by George “Ben” Page, Mission Linen has about 315 employees in the Tri-Counties, according to Business Times data on file, and ranks as the fifth-largest family-owned business in the region. The company said it operates more than 40 plants in California, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and Oregon.