LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 06: In this photo illustration the Snapchat app is used on an iPhone on October 6, 2014 in London, England. Snapchat allows users' messages to vanish after seconds. It is being reported that Yahoo may invest millions of dollars in the start up firm. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
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Imran Khan, the Credit Suisse banker who led Alibaba’s record-setting initial public offering earlier this year, is leaving the bank for the fast-growing messaging app Snapchat.

Mr Khan will swap New York for Los Angeles to become Snapchat’s first chief strategy officer, reporting to its 24-year-old chief executive Evan Spiegel.

His move comes as Snapchat’s popularity with teenagers and young adults has helped it secure a valuation of $10bn and now looks to use its growing user base to generate sales.

Snapchat has just begun to experiment with different forms of advertising, including film trailers from Universal and Black Friday ads from Macy’s, Amazon and Hollister interspersed with user-filmed footage of New York’s Thanksgiving Day parade and the subsequent weekend’s shopping frenzy.

In a sign of its rapid growth, Apple said on Monday that Snapchat was the second most popular free app downloaded for iPhones this year in the US, behind Facebook Messenger.

Other key hires by Snapchat in the past year include Emily White, formerly of Instagram and Facebook, who is now the chat app’s chief operating officer, and Jill Hazelbaker, a former Google communications executive who also worked on election campaigns for Michael Bloomberg, the former New York mayor, and John McCain, who ran for US president in 2008.

Mr Khan’s departure will be a blow for Credit Suisse’s internet franchise, which has grown steadily since he joined the bank in 2011 from JPMorgan Chase, where he was a top-rated analyst on the sector.

This year Credit Suisse has had a leading role on several large global internet IPOs including Alibaba, Zalando, the German ecommerce company, and King Digital, the maker of Candy Crush Saga.

A longstanding relationship with senior executives at Alibaba from his time covering Yahoo as an analyst helped Mr Khan secure Credit Suisse a role in several transactions for the company including the IPO, as well as about $50m worth of convertible equity when the company was valued at just $45bn. Alibaba’s market capitalisation stood at almost $270bn at Monday’s close in New York.

Mr Khan’s departure comes at an unusual time, as banks are in the process of deciding bonuses for their bankers that will be paid early next year.

He is the latest to make the leap from Wall Street to Silicon Valley, after Anthony Noto, a former Goldman Sachs banker, left his job as a leading internet banker to become the chief financial officer for Twitter, securing a pay package worth $64m at the time of his appointment in July. Mr Noto helped take Twitter public while at Goldman Sachs.

Dave Wehner, who became Facebook’s chief financial officer in June, was a managing director at Allen & Co before joining Zynga in 2010.

News of Mr Khan’s appointment was earlier reported by the Wall Street Journal.

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