2017-02-07

Snap cofounders Evan Spiegel (left) and Bobby Murphy (right).AP

CEO Evan Spiegel may be the public face of Snap Inc., but it’s taken more than his hard work to turn what started as a disappearing photo app into a potentially $25 billion social network and camera company.

Since he started Snapchat with cofounder Bobby Murphy in 2011, Spiegel has surrounded himself with a team of seasoned deputies who oversee everything from relationships with advertisers and media partners to the company’s planned IPO.

Here are the most important people who help Spiegel run Snap:

Bobby Murphy cofounded Snapchat and is now CTO.



Snap

Unlike Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy has maintained a decidedly low profile since the beginning of the company.

As cofounder and Chief Technology Officer, Murphy leads Snap’s engineering and research teams. Sources say he’s also involved with a top-secret team called Snap Labs that works on projects like the recently announced Spectacles glasses.

Murphy and Spiegel each wield 44% of Snap’s voting stock, giving them complete control over the company’s future. While Murphy’s base salary in 2016 was only $250,000, he stands to become a billionaire overnight when Snap goes public.

Murphy and Spiegel’s friendship goes back to when they were both in the same fraternity at Stanford.

Spiegel, a product design student, needed someone to write the source code for the app that would become Snapchat. He recruited Murphy, a mathematics and computational science major, after the two had finished working on a failed startup called Future Freshman.

The quiet, 28-year-old engineer remains the author of much of the app’s code to this day.

Imran Khan is a former banker who now leads Snap’s business strategy.



Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images

Imran Khan jumped from the banking world to the tech world in January 2015 when he joined Snap as its Chief Strategy Officer. His connections quickly helped Snap land a $200 million investment from Alibaba — he was the lead banker for the Chinese retail company’s IPO — and an additional $1.8 billion in funding in May 2016.

One of Spiegel’s direct reports, Khan’s main job at Snap is to lead its business strategy and help chart its path to a potentially $25 billion IPO. He’s one of the few executives besides Spiegel to represent the company publicly at events, and he’s working on telling the story of Snapchat to make it more appealing to bankers and advertisers.

While he’s only been at Snap for about two years, Khan has been granted $145 million worth of shares. Those shares will likely be worth a lot more at Snap’s IPO price. And he was paid a $5 million bonus last year.

Read our full profile of Khan for more on how he worked his way up to quarterbacking two of the largest tech IPOs in history.

Michael Lynton left his job as Sony Entertainment’s CEO to lead Snap’s board.



David McNew/Getty

Former Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton stepped down from his position in January to focus on his new role as Snap’s Chairman of the Board.

Lynton has been a trusted adviser to Evan Spiegel, and he’s been on the company’s board since 2013. An industry veteran with close ties to Hollywood, Lynton shares Spiegel’s interest in the TV and music industries.

Timothy Sehn was an early employee and now leads all software engineering.

Since joining Snap in 2013, Senior VP of Engineering Timothy Sehn has grown the company’s software engineering team by more than 10x.

His name is also on a half-dozen of Snap’s patents, which range from “object recognition based photo filters” to “user interface to augment an image.”

A $40 million stock award made him one of Snap’s highest-paid executives last year.

Before Snap, 36-year-old Sehn spent over a decade at Amazon, where he started as a software developer intern and left as an engineering director. He recently poached one of his former colleagues, Jerry Hunter, from Amazon to be another VP of Engineering.

CFO Drew Vollero oversees Snap’s books and is officially running its IPO.

Snap

Since joining the company as Vice President of Finance in 2015, Drew Vollero has become permanent Chief Financial Officer and now reports directly to Evan Spiegel.

The former Mattel executive manages the company’s books and is instrumental in overseeing its impending IPO.

He has yet to make any public appearances on behalf of the company, and he so far seems comfortable letting COO Imran Khan court bankers and advertisers.

Chris Handman is in charge of all legal affairs.

LinkedIn

As General Counsel, Chris Handman leads a close-knit team of lawyers tha handles everything from IP litigation to mergers and acquisitions.

A former US Supreme Court specialist and partner at the Hogan Lovells firm, Handman’s team is also responsible for developing Snapchat’s privacy policy, which has evolved over the years to balance the targeting needs of advertisers with the app’s ephemeral, privacy-minded design.

“Working in legal at Snapchat is an incredibly rewarding experience if you like thinking creatively about the law,” he said in a 2015 interview. “Given the company’s culture of restless innovation, we have no playbook. We often have to go back to first principles, since there is no blueprint for what Snapchat is doing.”

Tom Conrad is helping drive the changes to Snap’s products.

Snap

Snapchat is one of the fastest innovating companies around, and former Pandora CTO Tom Conrad jumped on board in March 2016 to oversee its quick-changing products.

Since he stepped in as VP of Product, Snapchat totally revamped how people message each other in the app and added Memories, a way for people to store the images they’ve captured on Snapchat.

While Spiegel still controls a lot of the product decisions at the company, Conrad’s decade leading Pandora’s product means he can handle the day-to-day and help Spiegel execute his vision.

Nick Bell courts media companies like BuzzFeed and Vice to create exclusive content for Snapchat’s Discover section.

Snap

Nick Bell is the golden ticket for any media company wanting to work with Snapchat.

A former SVP at News Corps, Bell joined the company in 2014 to lead its content strategy, including Live and Discover. Whereas the app used to be all about sending messages to friends, Bell has been the one in charge of turning it into full-fledged media company.

Hailing from the UK originally, Bell first made money off the dot-com boom as a teen, selling his first company Teenfront.com at 16. He then tried to start a chain of spray tan and tanning beds in UK grocery stores and to start a few other companies before he joined News Corp in his twenties.

Described as one of Evan Spiegel’s closest lieutenants, he’s been at Snapchat for the last two years as its VP of Content.

Steve Horowitz leads hardware engineering and has decades of experience at Silicon Valley’s top companies.

Snap

Steve Horowitz’s career hits almost every major tech company. He started off at Apple, working on Macintosh products then went to Microsoft for a decade. He then went to Google to oversee Android development before jumping to Coupon.com as its CTO. From there, he became a Senior VP of Software Engineering at Motorola.

Snapchat poached Horowitz in February 2015 to be its VP of Engineering alongside Timothy Sehn. Horowitz is working closely with Snap’s hardware team that created Spectacles, and he has poached other key Motorola execs to work alongside him.

Snap has hinted that it plans to release more hardware, and Horowitz’s decades of experience will likely play a key role in developing those future products.

Jerry Hunter was poached from Amazon to lead Snap’s core engineering team.

Amazon

At Amazon, Jerry Hunter was responsible for Amazon’s data centers globally. In October, he joined Snap as the VP of Engineering, Core Engineering to bring his experience in global infrastructure to the growing company.

Before Amazon, Hunter was running global data centers for another huge tech company. He was the VP of IT for Sun Microsystems which, before it got bought by Oracle, was also a pioneer in cloud computing (although the world didn’t call it that back in the day).

Steve Hwang’s power at Snap was exposed thanks to the Sony leaks.

The Sony hack in 2015 was terrible for Snapchat because it exposed the dirty details of how it fired employees and made some secret acquisitions.

A name frequently seen in the emails was Steve Hwang’s, a long-time employee and now VP of Corporate Development.

Another lawyer in Evan Spiegel’s close circle, Hwang used to oversee legal operations at the company, making sure board members like Sony’s CEO signed off on things like compensation packages.

Now in a bigger role, Hwang is helping Spiegel acquire other companies, representing the company at events, and offering strategy advice to brands.

Philippe Browning joined Snapchat from CBS to lead its advertising operations.

Snap

Philippe Browning is a long-time employee, having been with the company since 2013. He made the jump from CBS Interactive, where he’d been the VP of Advertising and Operations for mobile. He’s now in a similar role at Snapchat where he’s VP of Operations, leading everything from ad operations to Snap’s burgoneing real estate plans.

Steve LaBella is in charge of the company’s quirky marketing.

A relative newcomer to Snapchat’s upper ranks, Steve LaBella joined as VP of Marketing in May 2016 after a long stint at toy maker Mattel (where CFO Drew Vollero also worked prior).

He’s in charge of Snap’s playful marketing and brand identity. That includes its Spectacles eyewear launch, which Evan Spiegel has referred to as a “toy.”

LaBella is coincidentally well suited for marketing toys — he most recently managed the preschool division of Fisher-Price toys, which is owned by Mattel.

Jennifer Park Stout in charge of deepening Snap’s ties to Washington.

Jennifer Park Stout has spent most of her career in government, having started her career working as legislative aide for then-Senator Joseph Biden in 1998. She spent one year working for insurance company MetLife as its VP for International Government Affairs, before returning to work at the U.S. Department of State, most recently as its deputy chief of staff.

In January, Stout went back to the private sector to become its new Head of Public Policy.

Jad Boutros makes sure Snapchat is a safe place for people to communicate.

LinkedIn

Jad Boutros has an important role: making sure that Snapchat’s security is rock solid.

As Chief Security Officer Boutros oversees privacy engineering, spam, and any issues with abuse for the app. He also manages corporate security.

Under his leadership, Snapchat published its first transparency report that showed government inquiries for user information. He also grew the company’s bug bounty program and cracked down on the ability for third-party apps to access Snapchat’s user data.

Before joining Snap, Boutros worked on software security at Google for nine years and led the security team behind Google+.

Jason Halbert is in charge of recruiting and on-boarding new employees.

Snap

As VP of Talent, Jason Halbert is in charge of attracting new employees and making sure they fit in with Snap’s corporate culture.

A doctor in clinical psychology, Halbert previously served as Director of Special Projects at the company for four months before he was promoted to VP in November 2015.

Before that he was a legal consultant and officer in the United States Army Special Forces Command.

Robyn Thomas oversees Snapchat’s rapidly expanding ranks.

LinkedIn

Snap is no longer a small team of 30 people working out of a house in Venice Beach, California. In the last five years, the company has expanded to now employ nearly two thousand people around the world.

After spending nearly a decade at Google, Robyn Thomas joined Snapchat in May 2015 as its employment counsel and was shortly promoted to its VP of Legal and HR six months later.

Peter Hamby explains the news to Snapchat’s young audience.

Snap

Peter Hamby surprised much of his peers in the media when left his role covering politics at CNN in 2015 to be Snapchat’s Head of News.

Hamby now leads a small team of journalists out of the company’s New York office to cover events like presidential debates. They also splice together crowdsourced footage from Snapchat users for national news stories like the San Bernardino shooting and recent Louisiana floods.

Given Hamby’s background, much of his focus as of late was covering the 2016 US presidential election. He anchors a politics show in Snapchat’s Discover section called “Good Luck America” that Snapchat is pitching as the format it wants to replicate for producing more original shows.

Dom Perella helps the company navigate privacy and the law.

LinkedIn

Dom Perella might not have the top legal position, but don’t underestimate his impact on the company.

As Deputy General Counsel, he has a huge role in the company’s litigation, compliance, and copyright issues. In particular, Perella works on the legal and privacy issues around Snapchat’s “Live Stories” feature, which curates videos from users around the world.

His background isn’t in tech. He was a partner at Hogan Lovells in Washington, D.C. (like Handman) and a member of the firm’s Supreme Court and Appellate Litigation team.

Before Perella entered law, he spent five years as a reporter for the Associated Press in Richmond and New York, editing stories on the war in Afghanistan.

Martin Lev is in charge of keeping Snapchat’s sprawling campus secure.

LinkedIn

Snapchat has eschewed the typical, insulated tech campus in favor of scooping up buildings throughout the graffiti-covered and eclectic Venice Beach neighborhood. It makes protecting the employees and company secrets that much harder.

Marty Lev, though, has the experience after spending 12 years at Google as its VP of Security, Safety, and Transportation. The avid runner jumped to Snapchat in April 2016 to become its VP of Securities and Facilities.

Claire Valoti helps oversees Snapchat’s growing international business from its UK headquarters.

Snap

Snap poached Valoti from Facebook to head up its growing European operation as GM of UK Sales.

Valoti pitches Snapchat’s ad products to European advertisers looking to reach the app’s young and highly engaged audience. 53 million of Snapchat’s 158 million daily users are in Europe, making it the company’s largest market outside of North America.

Emmanuel Durand heads up Snap’s growing operation in France.

Snap

Snap opened an office in France last summer and poached Emmanuel Durand from Warner Bros. to be its GM of France Sales.

A media industry veteran, Durand is responsible for growing Snapchat’s presence in France, which is its second largest European market besides the UK.

Since Durand joined, Snapchat has launched a French Discover section with local publishers like Le Monde.

Kathryn Carter leads Snapchat’s sales business in Australia.

LinkedIn

As GM of Australia Sales, Kathryn Carter leads Snapchat’s relationships with advertisers in another increasingly important market.

She was hired from News Corp last April. Carter’s team plays an important role as Snapchat continues to focus on more developed markets where it can pull in higher ad dollars.

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