Mind Candy president Divinia Knowles: Former CEO Michael Acton Smith to "remain heavily involved" in company future

Michael Acton Smith has stepped down as CEO of Mind Candy, the develop of smash-hit Moshi Monsters - but he will remain "heavily involved" in the company's future and its plans to break America, says new president Divinia Knowles.

Promoted to the role of president after eight years at Mind Candy and retaining her position as COO, Knowles told Mobile Choice that the search for a new CEO has only just begun, but even if the recruitment process takes more than six months, the focus will be on finding the perfect new leader, no matter how long it takes.

“This really is about bringing the right person to the business,” Knowles said. “We have huge ambitions for our business, we have so many big plans and there's a lot of stuff we need to do.”

We want to smash the US market

These plans include “smashing the US market to pieces” with new products and securing a strong foothold across the pond, where Mind Candy is yet to see the same success as it’s enjoyed on home soil. Knowles said hiring a CEO with experience of the US market would be “great” for the company, but the search won’t be restricted to American candidates.

Pouring cold water over rumours that Acton Smith would leave the company, Knowles told Mobile Choice the co-founder and outgoing CEO “will still have a really integral role in the company - he’s amazingly creative and a really great stakeholder. He’ll be looking at new intellectual property and will remain on the board, adding a lot of direction to the company. He will work closely with the new CEO and will remain heavily involved in the business side [of Mind Candy].”

Knowles added that Acton Smith will be “really involved in the search for a new CEO.”

In a YouTube video announcing his stepping aside, Acton Smith said: "My role is very different now to when we started the company and I've drifted away from the creative side that I really enjoy. It sounds dramatic but it's exciting, and means I can spend more time building up our sketchbooks and doing creative things like developing new characters."

We want to be Disney 2.0

Calling the company “Disney 2.0,” Knowles says Mind Candy’s goal is to be “the world’s greatest next-generation family entertainment company - it’s a huge challenge but also a huge opportunity.”

As for the hotly-anticipated initial public offering (IPO), which would see Mind Candy float on the stock exchange as a public company, Knowles remained tight-lipped. The president acknowledged the company is working towards its goals, but would not be drawn to say the hiring of a CEO with experience of running a public company would edge it closer to offering an IPO of its own.

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