Snapchat poaches top Credit Suisse banker Imran Khan

Khan will serve as chief strategy officer reporting directly to 24-year old CEO Evan Spiegel

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Snapchat, the popular app which allows users to send photographs that are automatically deleted within seconds, has poached top banker Imran Khan from Credit Suisse.

Khan will be swapping Wall Street for sunny Los Angeles as Snapchat's first chief strategy officer as the photo sharing app seeks monetize its popularity among teenagers, a crucial demographic for advertisers.

At Snapchat, he will report directly to co-founder and chief executive Evan Spiegel. The 24-year year old has been trying to move away from his "rich frat boy" image by hiring top talent to join its young team.

Last year, Snapchat hired Emily White from Instagram to be its chief operating officer. New recruit Khan should also come in handy with an impressive track record in the tech sector, having led high profile IPOs including Alibaba, King Digital, the maker of Candy Crush and Groupon.

Snapchat has been valued at a staggering $10 billion, making it one of the most valuable private tech start-ups, even-though it lacks a clear business model and only recently began experimenting with ads.

The app and its founder, Spiegel, have also been hit by controversy: photographs of Snapchat users saved using third party apps were hacked and posted on an internet forum over the summer. Snapchat defended its security and has repeatly warned against sharing personal material, but incidents like this are still damaging to users.

Spiegel himself was forced to apologise for his "idiotic" behaviour after a series of university e-mails while he was a student at Stanford University leaked online. They contained references to alcohol and drug use as well as comments about female students deemed sexist and inappropriate.

In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Spiegel thanked his team for believing in him and appreciate someone can transition from being "an idiot frat boy" to a more "thoughtful" person.