Nike Executive Resigns After Report Reveals Ties to Sneaker Resale Business
Nike announced Monday that its vice president and general manager of the North America division has resigned, CNBC reported. Ann Hebert has left the retailer abruptly after 25 years with the company.
This announcement follows a report from last week that revealed Hebert's 19-year-old-son, Joe Hebert, had used a credit card in her name to buy sneakers for his resell business, West Coast Streetwear. Bloomberg Businessweek reported Joe charged more than $100,000 on Ann's card to buy limited-edition sneakers, such as Yeezys and Jordans, and resell them for a profit. In the article, Joe said he never received inside information, like discount codes, from his mother. Bloomberg also reported that Ann disclosed relevant information about her son's resale business to Nike in 2018, and the company responded that there was no violation of company policy or conflicts of interest.
Ann was with Nike for 25 years, and in her most recent role she was responsible for helping to accelerate Nike’s direct-to-consumer strategy. CNBC reported that Ann resigned on her own accord. Nike plans to announce a new North American lead shortly.
Total Retail's Take: According to a report from Cowen, the resale sneaker business has been thriving this past year, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. As of right now, there's no evidence that Ann passed information to her son, Joe, that would have jeopardized Nike, and she resigned on her own. Though Nike told Ann in 2018 that her son's business was not a conflict of interest at the time, it's unclear if the situation changed as the startup grew. At a minimum, the optics of a top Nike executive's son being involved in a sneaker resale business raises questions. Whether it was more than that remains to be seen, but apparently there was enough of a conflict of interest that Hebert, and perhaps Nike, thought it was best that she no longer be employed by the athletic retail giant.
Ashley Chiaradio is the Senior Content Strategist at Total Retail. Ashley has been creating content for more than 7 years, and provides a unique insight in covering the retail industry having worked directly for retailers in the past. She’s passionate about profiling women leadership in the space.