Nike Executive Resigns After Article Details Her Son’s Sneaker Business

A longtime top executive at Nike resigned amid questions about possible ties to her son’s sneaker resale business and whether he used a credit card in her name for the company.

Ann Hebert, the vice president and general manager of Nike’s North America division, “departed” from the company on Monday, Nike said in a statement.

Nike said in its statement that it would announce a replacement for Ms. Hebert soon. She had been with the company for more than 25 years and had made the decision to resign, the company said in an email.

Her resignation came a week after Bloomberg Businessweek published an article on the rise of West Coast Streetwear, a company that buys and resells limited editions of sneakers and clothing. Ms. Hebert could not immediately be reached for comment.

West Coast Streetwear is owned by Ms. Hebert’s son, Joe Hebert, 19, who buys large amounts of highly sought footwear, such as Yeezys and Jordans, for resale at higher prices. The purchases are completed using computer programs like Cybersole, which are designed to increase opportunities to buy limited edition apparel from hundreds of retail stores that often set purchase limits. The article said that at one point Mr. Hebert and his team had spent $132,000 on hundreds of shoes and was able to resell them for a $20,000 profit.

The article also described a statement for an American Express corporate card that was in Ms. Hebert’s name and shared with Bloomberg Businessweek to illustrate the resale company’s revenue.

In the article, Mr. Hebert acknowledged that the Nike executive was his mother and said that she had inspired him as a businessman. But he said that her position at Nike was removed from his work and that she did not provide him with inside information.

Neither Mr. Hebert nor West Coast Streetwear responded to requests for comment on Tuesday. While a website for the company was down on Tuesday morning, Mr. Hebert’s Instagram account showed images of Yeezy, Jordan and other brand shoe boxes, some stacked and others scattered in what appears to be a warehouse.

Ms. Hebert was promoted to her role as vice president and general manager of the company’s North America division last April, and she oversaw sales, marketing, merchandising and other areas, according to a statement.

A spokeswoman for Nike told Bloomberg Businessweek that Ms. Hebert had shared information about West Coast Streetwear with the company in 2018 and Nike had advised it that there was no violation of company policy or conflicts of interest at the time. Nike did not immediately reply to questions about its knowledge of West Coast Streetwear.

Sneaker swapping and reselling has been popular since at least the 1990s but has experienced a boom in recent years as demand for collectible shoes and streetwear has climbed. The increase in business comes in part from so-called sneakerheads, customers who see the items as investment assets. Major fashion brands have also caught on, buying stakes in resale shops like Stadium Goods.

Hard-to-find models can sell for hundreds or tens of thousands of dollars. For instance, a pair of Air Yeezy “Red October” shoes can sell for over $15,000, depending on the size.

Managing the supply of certain shoes while demand for them skyrockets keeps buyers coming back, said John Kernan, a research analyst at Cowen, an investment banking company.

While some industries have suffered or shuttered because of the coronavirus pandemic, the sneaker and streetwear markets, both primary and resale, have thrived, according to a 2020 report from Cowen.

The firm estimates the current market is at $2 billion with projections to reach $30 billion by 2030.

The article also described a statement for an American Express corporate card that was in Ms. Hebert’s name and shared with Bloomberg Businessweek to illustrate the resale company’s revenue.

In the article, Mr. Hebert acknowledged that the Nike executive was his mother and said that she had inspired him as a businessman. But he said that her position at Nike was removed from his work and that she did not provide him with inside information.

Neither Mr. Hebert nor West Coast Streetwear responded to requests for comment on Tuesday. While a website for the company was down on Tuesday morning, Mr. Hebert’s Instagram account showed images of Yeezy, Jordan and other brand shoe boxes, some stacked and others scattered in what appears to be a warehouse.

Ms. Hebert was promoted to her role as vice president and general manager of the company’s North America division last April, and she oversaw sales, marketing, merchandising and other areas, according to a statement.

The firm estimates the current market is at $2 billion with projections to reach $30 billion by 2030.

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