Nike's vice president and general manager of North America, Ann Hebert, left the company effective Monday, the sporting giant said in a press release. She spent over 25 years with the company. Nike said it would name a new head of North America soon.
The news comes after a Bloomberg report that included details about Hebert's son, Joe Hebert, who runs a sneaker reselling business and used an American Express corporate card in Ann Hebert's name for the business.
In answering whether the events were tied, Nike told Retail Dive that "Ann Hebert made the decision to resign from Nike." At the time of Bloomberg's report, Nike told the publication Ann Hebert had disclosed information about Joe Hebert's business to the company in 2018, and it was not a violation of policy or a conflict of interest.
Whether or not the decision was influenced by Joe Hebert's sneaker reselling business, Nike has lost a veteran in Ann Hebert, who has been with the company for a quarter of a century. Ann Hebert only took on the position heading North America in April last year, but she held several other leadership roles at the company before then, including vice president of global sales and vice president of North America sales.
At the time of Ann Hebert's promotion, President of Consumer and Marketplace Heidi O'Neill praised her "deep experience" and said she would be "instrumental in accelerating our Consumer Direct Offense in North America." That strategy has been a focal point for the company recently, with executives announcing an acceleration of the Consumer Direct plan over the summer.
Among other things, the company's Consumer Direct strategy emphasizes its e-commerce business, as well as DTC sales through its owned stores and digital channels. Wholesale takes a bit of a backseat as the retailer steps away from certain partners and emphasizes those that enhance the Nike brand.
North America as a region has also historically been a tough spot for Nike, and the pandemic didn't help matters in 2020, causing widespread, temporary store closures in the region. Before the global health crisis, revenue in North America was up 4%, but the following quarter dented North America sales by 46%. Since then, the region has been on the mend again, down just 2% in the first quarter (ended Aug. 31, 2020) and up 1% in its most recent quarter.