Nike vice president Ann Hebert has stepped down from her role at the company where she was employed for 25 years. Hebert resigned following a profile about her son, Joe Hebert known as West Coast Joe, whose sneaker resale business was covered in Bloomberg.
The official news came through an internal Nike statement that read, “Ann Hebert, VP/GM, North America geography has decided to step down from Nike, effectively immediately,” the email reads. “We thank Ann for her more than 25 years with Nike and wish her well.”
Her resignation on Monday (March 1, 2021) followed multiple days of discussion about the article on Twitter spurred by prior claims by Joe on social media that he had started up the business without assistance.
The story also created a stir on GlassDoor where current and former Nike employees expressed anger over what appeared to be a double standard for the son of a high-ranking executive versus most employees. One wrote, “I know of employees who got fired for so much less than this; buying 5 or so pairs of shoes! Welcome to HR and ER double standards, folks!!”
The profile started out innocently enough with Joe detailing how he makes money flipping sneakers for profit. In a twist from the higher profile practice of reselling limited edition premium sneakers at a high mark up, Hebert’s model was focused on what’s referred to as brick flipping, buying a high volume of less hyped shoes at a discount and reselling them on various platforms for a profit ranging from $20-$40.
In addition to reselling sneakers, Joe also ran a Discord group whose members paid a monthly fee for access to early information on launches as well as access to technology to provide faster access to popular launches.
When faced with a shortage of supply triggered by COVID-19 and the breakdown in the sneaker supply chain, Hebert set off on a cross-country road trip making stops at various retailers and Nike Factory stores where he and a friend purchased large volumes of sneakers at a deep discount.
Hepert’s bio as a enterprising entrepreneur began to unravel last year in June when he returned a call the Bloomberg reporter while on his road trip. Noting that the caller i.d. showed the name Anna Hepert, the reporter quickly discovered she was a Nike vice president and general manager, a role she was promoted to seven months ago. Specifically, Ann’s role as vice president and general manager for North America was described as accelerating Nike’s efforts to grow its direct sales.
When then asked to show proof of income for his company WCS LLC, Joe sent him a statement for an American Express corporate card, which was in his mother’s name. In response to further queries about Ann’s connection to the resell business, Joe directed the reporter to leave her out of the story and then stopped returning phone calls.
While Nike doesn’t allow employees to buy and sell its product, as part of company policy Ann had disclosed information about the business as required to the company in 2018 and there was no violation of company policy.
While there’s been a lot of speculation around how Ann may have assisted Joe by providing him with discounts and inside information on launches, the fact that she was providing Joe with credit backing is likely what Nike viewed as crossing a line from which there was no return.
Check out an image from Joe’s Instagram feed below, alleged to be shot on his mother’s property.