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Snapchat hires big-time banker Imran Khan

The former Credit Suisse banker will report directly to CEO Evan Spiegel and head up the social network's strategic vision.

Snapchat has its first chief strategy officer in Imran Khan. Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Snapchat has just added a new, potentially important member to its team.

Imran Khan, the former head of Internet Banking at financial firm Credit Suisse, has been appointed Snapchat's first chief strategy officer, the social network confirmed Monday to The Wall Street Journal. In his new role, Khan will report to Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel.

For Snapchat, known for messages users send to one another that disappear after they're viewed, the addition of Khan is a major victory as the it works to grow and become a major player in the social space.

Snapchat was founded in 2011 by Spiegel, Reggie Brown and Bobby Murphy. The mobile app started simply as a way for users to send photos that would self-destruct within ten seconds of being viewed. Before long, the app took off, and by May 2014, Snapchat reported that 700 million photos and videos were being sent every day.

That growth, combined with the more than 100 million monthly active users, has helped Snapchat's value soar over the last three years. In August, after receiving an undisclosed investment from venture capitalist Kleiner Perkins, Snapchat's valuation was pegged at $10 billion.

But with growth comes increasing challenges for Snapchat. The company is now in need of longtime business veterans that can help 24-year-old Spiegel run an increasingly complex operation. In addition, those experienced executives can help the company start generating significant revenue off its growth.

Khan has a long history of working with Internet companies and advised several prominent firms, including China's Twitter-like Weibo and Amazon-like Alibaba, on their initial public offerings. It's possible that Khan could play a crucial role at Snapchat if the company decides to go public.

According to the Journal, the addition of Khan, who now joins former Facebook executive Emily White, who serves as Snapchat's chief operating officer, is just the beginning. The news outlet's sources said Snapchat is currently seeking a chief financial officer.

Snapchat did not immediately respond to a request for comment.