Hayneedle’s Executives Switching Roles

Hayneedle said Tuesday that Chairman Doug Nielsen, and Carter Cast, president and CEO, are switching executive management roles. Nielson, who co-founded Hayneedle, will become president and CEO while Cast will become chairman. Hayneedle, of Omaha, is an online retailer of home furnishings and lifestyle products. The company is funded by Insight Venture Partners and Sequoia Capital.


Hayneedle, Inc., one of the leading online retailers of home furnishings and lifestyle products, today announced that Doug Nielsen, Chairman, and Carter Cast, President and CEO, will exchange their executive management roles.  Nielsen, a co-founder of Hayneedle, will become President and CEO, while Cast will assume the role of Chairman.

Nielsen co-founded the company, then known as NetShops, in 2002 along with business partners Mark Hasebroock and Julie Mahloch. He served as President and CEO from February 2002 to October 2007, at which time Cast joined the company.  Hayneedle employs more than 400 people and has quickly grown into a leader in ecommerce, ranking #69 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide.

“Carter has worked tirelessly for the past three years to strengthen and grow our organization, leading us through an incredibly successful evolution from NetShops to Hayneedle,” said Nielsen.  “Carter has moved to the Chairman position in order to concentrate on expanding strategic opportunities for the Hayneedle brand and to drive the long-term strategy for our business.  I look forward to doing what I think I do best — pouring my heart and soul into day-to-day operations as we continue to redefine how consumers shop for home furnishings and deliver a superior customer experience.”

Nielsen has over 20 years experience as an entrepreneur and Internet pioneer.  Prior to co-founding NetShops, Nielsen co-founded and served as CEO of GiftPoint.com, which merged with GiftCertificates.com in March 2000. Following the merger, he was President and served on the Board of Directors of GiftCertificates.com. Earlier, Nielsen founded two direct marketing companies.

“The past three years have been extraordinarily satisfying and I’m confident this exchange of roles with Doug will position Hayneedle for continued growth and success,” said Cast. “Doug and I, supported by the talent and dedication of our entire team, share a clear vision and significant aspirations for the company.  Together, we will build on our momentum and continue to expand the Hayneedle brand and business.”

Before joining Hayneedle, Cast helped launch Walmart.com, a division of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., where he served as Senior Vice President of Marketing, Merchandising and Site, and, ultimately, as President and CEO. During this time, he led the division to profitability, as it became one of the highest volume ecommerce sites in the world.  Prior to Walmart.com, Cast was a member of the start-up team for Blue Nile Inc., the leading online retailer of diamonds and fine jewelry.  He earlier served as Vice President of Product Marketing and Marketing Communications for Electronic Arts, launching products such as The Sims.  Cast began his career at PepsiCo, Inc., holding a variety of marketing positions over a 10-year period.

About Hayneedle, Inc.:

Hayneedle.com offers “variety, sweet variety” for the home and more through its 200-plus online specialty retail stores.  Established in 2002, Hayneedle.com offers an extensive variety of high quality home and lifestyle products, far surpassing what is available in the traditional retail world or from other online retailers. By providing a rewarding shopping experience, exceptional service, true product variety and the right content to buy with confidence, Hayneedle.com helps customers find what they love and love what they find. The company has been recognized by Internet Retailer and Inc. Magazine as one of the top online retailers and fastest growing companies in America. Hayneedle.com is privately held and funded by Insight Venture Partners and Sequoia Capital. For more information, visit www.hayneedle.com.