Nike replaces executive who resigned over son's sneaker reselling business

Ann Hebert left the company after a media report revealed her son used her company credit card to buy hundreds of Adidas shoes

People walk in front of the Nike store in New York City. The world’s largest athletic brand named a replacement for a top executive who resigned after a report detailing her son’s lucrative business reselling sneakers. Corbis via Getty Images
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Nike, the world's largest athletic brand, named a replacement for a top executive who resigned after a report detailing her son's lucrative business reselling sneakers.

Sarah Mensah takes over as vice president and general manager of Nike’s North American operations, effective immediately, overseeing sales, marketing and merchandising in the region, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

Ms Mensah had worked as a senior executive at the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers before joining Nike in 2013.

Nike also said Amy Montagne has taken over its Asia-Pacific and Latin America division, sliding into Ms Mensah’s previous role, and Aaron Cain was named vice president and general manager of the sporting goods giant’s men’s business.

Ms Mensah replaces Ann Hebert, an employee of more than 25 years who abruptly left this month, just days after Bloomberg Businessweek reported on her 19-year-old son, Joe. Known to his customers as West Coast Joe, he flips hundreds of thousands of dollars in sneakers for profit each month and used a credit card in his mother’s name.

Nike chief executive John Donahoe addressed the controversy on Monday during a Nike all-hands meeting for the North America team, according to style website Complex. He discussed concerns about the integrity of its product releases, when consumers scramble for a limited number of sneakers.

“This incident has sparked questions in some of our consumers about whether they can trust us, particularly around launch product,” Complex quoted Mr Donahoe as saying.

Nike is looking to root out bots that try to snatch up sneakers online before regular customers can, he said.

“We’ve been working on anti-bot technology for the last several years,” Mr Donahoe said. “That is part of the solution, but we need to double down our efforts.”

Nike also plans to update its policies to clarify what is appropriate for employees and their families, Complex reported. The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to the Businessweek report, Ms Hebert disclosed information about her son’s business to Nike in 2018. The company has said that the executive didn’t violate company policies and there was no commercial affiliation between Nike and the resale business.

Following her exit, a Nike representative said Ms Hebert made the decision to leave.

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