Leading Nike Executive Exits Company After Being Linked to Son’s Resell Sneaker Business

OTHER SHOE DROPS: After 25 years, a senior-level Nike executive is out the door after being linked to her son’s sneaker reselling business.

Ann Hebert, vice president and general manager of North America, exited the company Monday. Nike Inc. plans to name a successor for the North American region shortly, according to a statement issued Monday by the Beaverton, Ore.-based sneaker giant.

A Nike spokeswoman released a statement from the company that read, “Ann Hebert made the decision to resign from Nike.”

The spokeswoman did not respond, when asked if an interim successor had been named or if anyone had assumed Hebert’s former responsibilities.

Hebert’s departure comes less than a week after her Gen Z son Joe, who runs a resale sneaker business, was featured in a Bloomberg Businessweek article titled “Sneakerheads Have Turned Jordans Into a Bona Fide Asset Class.” He was alleged to have used a credit card in his mother’s name to buy sneakers for his company West Coast Streetwear. Before the coronavirus crisis, the younger Hebert cleared $200,000 in revenue, according to the article. As another revenue stream, he charged $250 a month to join a Discord group, West Bricks, where he reportedly shared information on upcoming online releases such as which sneakers would be discounted, when and where the sale would begin, and how many the retailer would have. By late last year, Hebert was said to have 450 subscribers.

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Privy to bot software and StockX real-time research, just as his competitors are, Hebert reportedly provided deeper analysis. How long resellers might expect demand to persist was one of Hebert’s strengths, according to some of his subscribers.

He described his primary market as middlemen who would resell the shoes in China, where shoppers paid top dollar to avoid counterfeits, according to the article. Having grown up in Portland, home to Nike and Adidas U.S. operations, Hebert was quoted as saying, “If you know the right people here, this is the city to sell shoes.”

Hebert declined to discuss his sources of information in the article.

During last year’s quarantine, he and a friend Justin Taliaferro went on a 25-day, 10,000-mile search for sneakers. Their trek focused on Nike outlet stores from Portland, Ore., to Louisiana. The pair also stopped at Foot Lockers, DTLR Villas and Champs Sports Outlets, as well as mom-and-pop stores, according to the article. Returning with more than $200,000 worth of sneakers — 2,000 pairs of shoes — Hebert told Bloomberg Businessweek that he aimed to reap $50,000 in profit. He later was said to have started wholesaling some of his summer stock to smaller retailers and mulling a direct-to-consumer model for West Coast Streetwear to avoid StockX fees and returns.

At Nike, Hebert had previously held such key roles in the past three years as vice president of global sales and prior to that vice president and general manager of Asia Pacific & Latin America.

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