ALL TIED UP: In response to a key senior executive exiting Nike Inc. due to links to her son’s sneaker resell business, the activewear giant has named a successor.
The company has tapped Sarah Mensah as vice president and general manager of North America. She previously served as the company’s vice president and general manager of Asia Pacific and Latin America. In her new post, Mensah reports to Heidi O’Neill, president of consumer and marketplace.
Another Nike veteran, Amy Montaigne, assumes the role that Mensah previously held at the company. While Nike has positioned the executive shuffle as a means to continue the momentum of its consumer direct acceleration, the change in command follows the unexpected departure of former vice president and general manager of apparel Ann Hebert. A 25-year veteran with Nike, Hebert resigned March 1 following a Bloomberg Businessweek article that linked her to her son Joe’s resell sneaker business, West Coast Streetwear.
Mensah now heads up all elements of the business in North America including direct, marketing, digital, sales, consumer construct and territories among other areas. Her experience at Nike includes vice president and general manager of the Jordan brand for North America, and vice president and general manager of sportswear for Asia-Pacific and Latin America. Before starting her run at Nike, Mensah served as senior vice president and chief operating officer for the National Basketball Association’s Portland Trailblazers.
There have been a series of executive changes at leading athletic companies as of late. Last week Reebok said it had poached Portia Blunt as its vice president of apparel from another Boston-based company, New Balance. Known for leading innovation at New Balance, Blunt was also a member of the company’s diversity council. Diversity and inclusion have increasingly become a priority for athletic companies since the start of last summer’s social justice movement, due partially in the case of Nike, Reebok and its parent company Adidas to public outcries from their employees.
Blunt succeeds Barbara Ebersberger, who left the company more than a year ago and previously oversaw those responsibilities at Reebok.
Executives at New Balance have not acknowledged media requests inquiring about Blunt’s successor.