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Nike executive quits after reports of son’s lucrative trainer-flipping business
Nike’s vice president and general manager for North America, Ann Herbert. Source: Nice Kicks
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  • A high-profile Nike executive has resigned this week following reports that her son used her credit card to aid his million-dollar sneaker-flipping business
  • Ann Hebert, Nike's vice president and general manager for North America, has stepped down from her position after 25 years with the business
  • The move comes a week after Bloomberg Businessweek highlighted how her 19-year-old son made hefty profits from re-selling valuable sneakers
  • Joe Hebert, Ann's son, made a business out of buying hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of limited-edition sneakers, then flipping them for a profit
  • He claims to have been making around US$50,000 (roughly A$64,000) in profit per month through his West Coast Streetwear brand
  • However, though one of the credit cards used to buy over US$100,000 (roughly A$128,000) worth of sneakers was set up in Ann Hebert's name, the younger Hebert insists he received no insider information or discounts from his mother
  • Nike has thrown its support behind Ann and her son, claiming she disclosed the West Coast Streetwear brand in 2018
  • As such, it's not entirely clear what the connection is between Joe Hebert's shoe-flipping hustle and his mother's resignation from Nike.

A high-profile Nike executive has resigned this week following reports that her son used her credit card to aid a million-dollar sneaker-flipping business.

While Ann Hebert, Nike's vice president and general manager for North America, did not specify exactly why she stepped down, the move comes a week after Bloomberg Businessweek detailed how her 19-year-old son made a healthy profit re-selling valuable sneakers.

Ann had been with Nike for over 25 years.

The Bloomberg report highlighted a lucrative trend that was made even more profitable by the COVID-19 pandemic: sneaker flipping.

Ann's son, Joe Hebert, claims to have been making around US$200,000 (around A$256,000) in revenue a month buying limited-edition sneakers from Nike and other stores and then reselling them on the secondary market.

According to the younger Hebert, this practice brought in about US$50,000 (around A$64,00) in monthly profit — though some months were better than others, with Joe claiming to have raked in US$600,000 in sales over a single month in 2020.

Like any other sort of collector, "sneakerheads" — as they're colloquially known — are happy to pay top dollar for rare pairs of shoes typically released in small batches.

Once sold out from the distributors, these sneakers are then traded on a secondary market where demand and supply set the price.

For the younger Hebert, he set up a clean operation where he and a group of "coworkers" would buy sneakers that they knew would appreciate in value in bulk, then re-sell them through his West Coast Streetwear brand.

When the COVID-19 pandemic brought the price of many limited-edition sneakers down from suppliers, this created even more of an opportunity for Joe to profit off each pair he flipped.

However, it seems like Joe had a helping hand from his mother; according to a statement he gave to Bloomberg, one of the credit cards used to buy thousands of dollars' worth of sneakers was set up in Ann Hebert's name.

This card was then allegedly used to buy over US$100,000 (around A$128,000) of sneakers, which Joe then flipped.

However, Joe insisted to Bloomberg that his mother was so high up at Nike as to be removed from what does. He also insisted his mother never gave him any inside information or discount codes.

Nike even defended Ann and her son, claiming the exec had disclosed the West Coast Streetwear firm in 2018 and there was "no violation of company policy" in either of their actions.

As such, it's not entirely clear what the connection is — if there is a connection — between Joe Hebert's shoe-flipping business hustle and his mother's resignation from Nike.

Nike said it would name Ann Hebert's replacement soon, but did not offer a specific timeline.

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