A high-ranking Nike executive has resigned from the Beaverton-based sportswear giant after a magazine article revealed links to her son's sneaker reselling business.
Last week, Bloomberg Businessweek published a cover story focused on Hebert's 19-year-old son, Joe, and his company, West Coast Streetwear, which buys limited edition and discounted shoes and flips them online for a profit. Sales exploded during the pandemic, pushing Joe Hebert—a University of Oregon dropout known in sneaker circles as "West Coast Joe"—to travel from Portland to Colorado in a moving truck in search of merchandise in order to meet demand.
"Back home in Portland, they lifted the steel door and a wall of orange Nike boxes spilled onto the pavement," wrote reporter Joshua Hunt. "Hebert had spent more than $200,000 on about 2,000 pairs of shoes, which he hoped would return a profit of around $50,000."
Hunt later found that Joe had used a credit card in his mother's name to buy sneakers for resale. Joe said she had no association with his business and that he "never received inside information such as discount codes from her," then cut off communication with Hunt.
While Ann Hebert declined comment to Bloomberg, a Nike spokesperson confirmed that she had divulged "relevant information" about West Coast Streetwear to the company in 2018, adding, "There was no violation of company policy, privileged information or conflicts of interest, nor is there any commercial affiliation between WCS LLC and Nike, including the direct buying or selling of Nike products."
Although she'd been with Nike since 1995, Ann Hebert was promoted to her current role just last June. In announcing her promotion, the company said she would be "instrumental in accelerating our Consumer Direct Offense," a program aimed at rerouting sales from wholesale partners toward the brand's own apps and websites—a move credited with spiking the resale boom, as it allowed flippers like Joe Hebert to utilize bots to grab high-profile shoes at greater quantity than going to physical storefronts.
The company said it will announce a replacement soon.