A Nike executive stepped down after more than two decades with the company following allegations that her son used a credit card in her name to purchase and resell coveted sneakers for his own business.
The departure of Ann Hebert, who served as the vice president and general manager of Nike’s North America division, was announced on Monday and comes after a Bloomberg Businessweek report that revealed the details of her 19-year-old son's sneaker resale company, West Coast Streetwear.
Nike confirmed to FOX Busines in a statement that "Ann Hebert made the decision to resign from Nike" six days after the report was published. Her resignation is effective immediately.
According to the report, her son, Joe Hebert, used online bots to purchase 600 pairs of Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 Zyon sneakers within seconds of the shoes being released.
The sneaker maker, Adidas AG, only makes 40,000 pairs of each Yeezy release, according to GQ. To get a pair of the highly sought-after shoe, consumers have to head to the Yeezy Supply website which uses a digital lottery, Bloomberg reported.
To get his hands on hundreds of pairs, Herbert utilized specialized computer programs such as Cybersole, Kodai, and GaneshBot to outsmart the Yeezy Supply website which limits one pair per customer, the outlet reported.
His scheme cost him about $132,000, which he rang up on a corporate American Express credit card that was in his mom's name, according to Bloomberg.
After selling the sneakers, he earned a $20,000 profit.
In 2019, research firm Cowen said that the sneaker resale market could be a $30 billion business by 2030. Sneakers, like other collectibles, have become known as "emerging alternative asset class."
Both Nike and Adidas – as well as other sneaker companies – have helped drive sneakers to this new asset class. Wrote Cowen: "The design and creative capabilities of brands are the driving force in the concept of sneakers as an alternative asset as the sneaker resale market scales."
According to Statista, in 2020, the total global sneakers market was valued at approximately $79 billion dollars. Estimates for the global reseal market stand at $6 billion.
The 19-year-old told the outlet that he never received inside information from his mother, such as discount codes, and asked that she not be mentioned in the article.
A Nike spokesperson told Bloomberg that there was no affiliation between Nike and WCS LLC.
"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," the spokesperson said
Nike said it plans to announce a new head of its North American geography to replace Ann Hebert "shortly," but did not disclose when that will be.