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#pounditSunday, April 11, 2021

Nike executive Ann Hebert leaves company after report about her son’s shoe reselling business

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Nike executive Ann Hebert left the company just days after a report detailed the sneaker reselling business her son was operating.

Last week, Bloomberg Businessweek’s cover story was about Hebert’s 19-year-old son Joe. Joe is a hustler who makes money by reselling items, primarily sneakers.

In 2018, Ann disclosed information to Nike about her son’s reselling business. The company said at the time that Hebert did not violate “company policy, privileged information or conflicts of interest,” according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

But after last week’s story, Hebert reportedly resigned from her position as Nike’s vice president and general manager in North America. She oversaw sales, marketing and merchandising in the region.

Joe makes money by reselling hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise — mainly sneakers — on the secondary market. He says his margins are not big, so it’s a volume business for him. One of the big winning strategies for him and his partners is to use computer programs to circumvent the 1-per-customer limit imposed for some online sales items. They then take their supply of limited edition materials and resell them for profit.

So what is it about what Joe did that may have led his mother to resign from her job?

These sections from the original article may be the proverbial smoking guns:

Hebert’s competitors have access to the same bot software and StockX-borne real-time market research as he does. What they don’t have, according to some of his subscribers, is consistent, sound analysis of what shoes to buy, how to get them, and, crucially, how long resellers might expect demand to persist. Hebert declined to talk about his sources of information, but he did say he was lucky to have grown up in Portland, where both Nike and Adidas base their U.S. operations. “If you know the right people here, this is the city to sell shoes,” he said. The right people “can give you access to stuff that, like, a normal person would not have access to.”

Bloomberg also reported in their story that Joe used a credit card in his mother’s name to make purchases for the business. When Bloomberg reporter Joshua Hunt learned about what Joe’s mother did, Hunt asked Joe about the connection. Joe denied ever receiving inside information from his mother.

When I asked Hebert about the connection later that year, he acknowledged that Ann was his mother and said that, while she’d inspired him as a businessperson, she was so high up at Nike as to be removed from what he does, and that he’d never received inside information such as discount codes from her.

Even if Nike cleared Ann in 2018 over what her son was doing, the excerpts from the article do not reflect well.

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