September 27, 2023
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Mission Produce CEO a finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year


Mission Produce CEO Steve Barnard at the company’s distribution plant in 2017. (file photo)

Steve Barnard, the CEO of Mission Produce in Oxnard, is a finalist in the 35th annual Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2021 Greater Los Angeles Award, the accounting and consulting firm announced June 17.

Barnard is one of 31 finalists, all of them were selected by an independent panel. The virtual award ceremony will be July 29.

“I’m proud to represent Mission Produce among some of the most influential businesspeople in the country,” Barnard said in a news release. “Over the last four decades, Mission has left an incredible mark on the industry, leading the way and setting the standard in the avocado business. It’s a great honor to have the opportunity to highlight the work we’ve done in such a prestigious program.”

Barnard founded Oxnard-based Mission Produce in 1983 and has guided the company into becoming one of the largest avocado operations in the world. He also led Mission through a successful initial public offering last year.

Mission began trading on major stock exchanges Oct. 1 opening at $12 a share. As of June 17, shares are up 90% since then, with the stock price hovering over $22 a share.

The company has a market capitalization of $1.5 billion, making it as the 12th largest publicly traded company in the tri-region and the biggest agribusiness in the region.

Mission Produce has also expanded recently into the mango market, as Barnard announced on March 8 that the company would be launching a new year-round mango program.

In the second quarter of the 2021-22 fiscal year, Mission generated earnings of $7.4 million and revenue of $232.4 million.