A lengthy Bloomberg article detailing the inner workings of an Oregon sneaker resale enterprise appears to have resulted in the departure of a senior executive—the mother of the central entrepreneur in question—from Nike leadership.
Ann Hebert, formerly vice president and general manager of the footwear giant’s North America business, departed the athletic wear giant Monday after more than 25 years. According to a Nike spokesperson, Hebert made the decision to resign, just nine months after she was promoted from her previous role as vice president of global sales.
Hebert’s departure came four days after Bloomberg published its investigation. The report—which also appeared as the cover story in the March 1 edition of Bloomberg Businessweek—dives into the world of sneaker resale, with a particular focus on Hebert’s 19-year-old son Joe and his business, West Coast Streetwear.
While conducting research for the article, Joshua Hunt, who authored the 2018 book “University of Nike: How Corporate Cash Bought American Higher Education,” said Joe Hebert sent him a statement for a corporate credit card for WCS LLC to demonstrate his company’s revenue. The card, Hunt noted, was in Ann Hebert’s name.
According to Hunt, Joe Hebert said his mother was so high up at Nike as to be removed from what he does, and that she had never provided him with insider information such as discount codes. However, he insisted his mother not be mentioned in the piece and soon cut off contact, Hunt wrote.
Bloomberg reported that a Nike spokesperson said Ann Hebert, who lead end-to-end business for Nike’s North America Geography, including sales, direct, marketing, merchandising, categories and territories, disclosed relevant information about WCS LLC to Nike in 2018. The spokesperson added that there was no violation of company policy, privileged information or conflicts of interest involved in the venture
Though he denied any coordination with his mother, Joe Hebert admitted that growing up in Portland, Ore., near the home of both Nike and Adidas’ U.S. operations, gave him an advantage. “If you know the right people here, this is the city to sell shoes,” he told Hunt. The right people “can give you access to stuff that, like, a normal person would not have access to.” He declined to talk about his sources.
West Coast Streetwear does not deal solely in Nike shoes. Bloomberg outlined an instance where Joe Hebert and a team of 15 allies used specialized computer programs, aka sneaker bots, to buy 600 pairs of Adidas’ Yeezy Boost 350 Zyon sneakers for $132,000, only to then sell them off at a $20,000 profit. The investigation also details a venture where Joe Hebert bought up PlayStation 5 consoles, one of 2020’s hottest and hardest-to-get commodities.