Independent social game developer CrowdStar (Happy Aquarium
) announced that chief executive Niren Hiro is stepping down, making way for co-founder and former CEO Peter Relan to take over once again.
Hiro joined the San Francisco-based developer less than a year ago, assuming Relan's CEO duties so he could focus more on his executive chairman role and on YouWeb -- his incubator that helped build not just CrowdStar but also OpenFeint, Aurora Feint, and Sibblingz.
Now Relan plans to scale down his YouWeb activities as he once again heads the developer. He said that he's not currently looking to install another permanent CEO at CrowdStar and that Hiro is leaving the firm on amicable terms.
"We agreed about our larger goals but not on the path to get there," said Relan in an interview with VentureBeat
. "We have different visions on how to scale the business and exploit the opportunities before us."
One of the last major Facebook developer to not take investors or join a larger company (e.g. Electronic Arts acquiring Playfish, Disney buying Playdom), CrowdStar is the second largest game maker on the social network with 47.6 million monthly users
, behind Zynga.
CrowdStar currently has 75 full-time employees and is contemplating plans to double that count in 2011. Relan also says the studio might consider raising outside funding, which would help finance its additional game launches, as well as expansions to Japan and the mobile space.
The CEO recently told Gamasutra
, "The way I would describe our company is we will continue to build as long as we need to or want to. Frankly -- we have a lot of fun doing what we do -- until we decide we really should merge for reasons related to competitive dynamics or the business is not able to grow much more."