Stephen Barnard
Mission Produce, Inc., President and CEO

Founded in 1983, Mission Produce began as a California avocado packer. Today, the company has grown to become the world’s largest avocado distributor, packer and grower. Mission Produce has several packing, processing and distribution facilities throughout the United States and its international operations include Chile, Peru, Mexico, Guatemala, Columbia, Canada, China and Europe.

Stephen graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business. In 1975, he started his produce career at Santa Clara Produce, Inc. in Oxnard. After seven years of working with lettuce crews, he moved over to the company’s avocado division, and soon after, he founded Mission Produce with co-founder Ed Williams.

Stephen is the past chairman of the Produce Marketing Association, past director of the California Avocado Commission and past director of Sunkist. He is currently serves as a director for the Cal Poly Foundation.

Stephen was elected to the board in 1996 and served as chairman in 2013.