The former VP of Nike North America—whose son’s resale business stirred up a sneaker scandal last year—has been named to Allbirds’ board of directors, albeit under a new name.
Allbirds announced today that Ann Freeman (f.k.a. Hebert) was appointed as a member of its board, effective immediately. The company’s press release describes Freeman as a former 26-year employee of Nike, most recently serving as its vice president and general manager of North America. This resume matches the LinkedIn profile of Ann Hebert, whose name has also been changed to Freeman on the profile.
“I am delighted to join… the Allbirds Board at such an exciting moment as consumers worldwide are seeking a no compromise approach to footwear and apparel focused on style, comfort, and sustainability,” Freeman said in a press release.
Last year, Freeman (then known as Hebert) infamously resigned from her executive role at Nike after her son, Joe, was exposed as a sneaker reseller through a Bloomberg Businessweek story.
Although Nike said an internal investigation did not find she had violated any company policies, her former manager, Heidi O’Neill, said Nike thought Freeman used poor judgement in handling the situation. “Together with Ann, we decided that it was best for her to resign,” O’Neill, president of consumer and marketplace at Nike, said during a March 2021 internal meeting.
Nike CEO John Donahoe also addressed the matter during an internal meeting last year, noting it had put consumer trust in jeopardy. “The fact of the matter is, this incident has sparked questions in some of our consumers about whether they can trust us, particularly around launch product,” he said.
Following her departure, Freeman’s role at Nike was filled by Sarah Mensah.