While CEO Evan Spiegel may be the ultimate decision-maker at Snap, he can’t pull all the strings by himself.
Since he started Snapchat with cofounder Bobby Murphy in 2011, Spiegel has surrounded himself with a team of seasoned deputies who oversee everything from the company’s fledgling ad business to swelling engineering ranks.
While Spiegel focuses on product innovation, key hires, and acquisitions, his top lieutenants are tasked with making sure the newly-public entity that is Snap Inc. outlives competitors and meets investor expectations.
Here are the most important people who help Spiegel run Snap:
CEO Evan Spiegel started Snapchat with Bobby Murphy during their days as undergraduate students at Stanford.
A hands-on, polarizing leader who spends most of his time with Snapchat's tight-knit group of product designers, Spiegel is credited with implementing the app's most revolutionary ideas, like disappearing messages and Stories.
Along with Murphy, 27-year-old Spiegel wields majority voting rights at Snap and is the ultimate decider of the young 'camera' company's future. His net worth of roughly $3 billion is heavily tied to Snap's volatile stock price.
Unlike Spiegel, Bobby Murphy has maintained a decidedly low profile since Snapchat's early days.
As cofounder and Chief Technology Officer, Murphy leads Snap's engineering and research teams. He's also involved with a top-secret team called Snap Labs that works on hardware projects like the Spectacles camera 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 $US250,000, his large stake in Snap places his net worth at roughly $US3 billion.
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.
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 $US200 million investment from Alibaba -- he was the lead banker for the Chinese retail company's IPO -- and an additional $US1.8 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 grow its fledgling ad business. He's one of the few executives besides Spiegel to represent the company publicly at events, and like Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg, he's working on telling the story of Snapchat to make it more appealing to marketers.
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.
CFO Drew Vollero oversees Snap's books and communicating the state of its financials to Wall Street.
Since joining the company as Vice President of Finance in 2015, Drew Vollero has become Chief Financial Officer and reports directly to Evan Spiegel.
The former Mattel executive manages the company's books and was instrumental in overseeing its hotly-anticipated initial public offering in early 2017. He co-leads Snap's quarterly earnings calls with investors alongside Spiegel and Khan.
Former Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton stepped down from his position in January to be Snap's independent Chairman of the Board.
Lynton has been a trusted adviser to Evan Spiegel for years and has been on the company's board since 2013. The two began their friendship by taking long walks between Snapchat's headquarters in Venice Beach, California and Sony's offices in Culver City.
'Evan, in my mind, is just an extraordinary individual,' Lynton recently said. 'And you could see from the get-go that he wanted to be the CEO of a very successful company and he was determined to make sure that company was public.'
Since joining Snap in 2013, Senior VP of Engineering Tim 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 $US40 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.
As VP of Content, Nick Bell is the gateway for any media company wanting to work with Snap.
A former executive at News Corps, Bell joined Snapchat in 2014 to lead its content strategy. Whereas the app used to be all about sending messages to friends, Bell has been the one in charge of turning it into a full-fledged media hub.
Bell now oversees the four pillars that make up Snap's content strategy: the Discover section where publishers like BuzzFeed create daily editions, 'Our Stories' that use videos from Snapchatters to tell stories around real-world events, Snapchat's relationships with celebrity users, and the app's newer push into original shows.
He reports directly to Evan Spiegel.
Mike O'Sullivan jumped from the law firm owned by Spiegel's father to be Snap's new General Counsel.
When longtime General Counsel Chris Handman stepped down in July, he was quickly replaced by Mike O'Sullivan.
O'Sullivan represented Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin during their company's IPO and Bank of America during the financial crisis. He joined Snap from the Los Angeles law firm owned by Evan Spiegel's father, which has represented Snap.
Dom Perella might not have the top legal position of General Counsel, but don't underestimate his importance within Snap.
As Deputy General Counsel, he plays a key role in leading the company's litigation, compliance, and copyright issues. He has specifically worked on the legal and privacy issues around Snapchat's unique 'Live Stories' feature, which curates videos from users around the world.
His background isn't in tech. He was previously a partner at Hogan Lovells in Washington, DC and a member of the firm's Supreme Court and Appellate Litigation team.
Because of its connection through board member Michael Lynton, the hack of Sony's emails in 2015 exposed several of Snapchat's dirty secrets, including acquisitions that were meant to be kept secret.
A name frequently seen in the emails was Steve Hwang's, a long-time employee and now VP of Corporate Development.
Hwang used to oversee legal operations at the company, making sure board members signed off on things like compensation packages.
Now he helps Spiegel scoop up other companies, like French mapping app Zenly. As one Snap insider told Business Insider, Hwang 'knows where all the bodies are buried.'
As VP of Talent, Jason Halbert leads the company's recruiting efforts and makes sure new hires fit in with Snap's unique 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.
Mandato left her position as Executive VP of HR for NBCUniversal to be Snap's VP of HR in June. She replaced Robyn Thomas, who departed Snap after leading the company's HR department for two years.
Mandato is now responsible for managing and meeting the needs of Snap's more than 2,500 employees. She reports to VP of Talent Jason Halbert.
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 in Snapchat. He also manages corporate tech 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+.
As VP of Communications, Mary Ritti acts as the gatekeeper between highly-secretive Snap and the media.
She manages a small PR team that handles all internal and external communications -- no small feat for a company with over 2,500 employees across the globe.
Before joining Snapchat in 2013, Ritti was a partner at the PR firm North of Nine Communications.
At Amazon, Jerry Hunter was responsible for Amazon's data centres around the world. In October 2016, he joined Snap as its VP of Core Engineering.
Before Amazon, the well-liked Hunter was running global data centres 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 Horowitz leads hardware engineering and has decades of experience at Silicon Valley's top companies.
Steve Horowitz's career includes stints at almost every major tech company.
He started off at Apple to work on the Macintosh, 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. It wasn't until more than a year later that the world learned how Horowitz was actually hired to lead Snap's secretive hardware team behind Spectacles.
Snap has hinted that it plans to release more hardware centered around cameras, and Horowitz's decades of experience will likely play a key role in developing those future products.
As Director of Revenue Product, Peter Sellis is the driving force behind most of Snapchat's ad offerings.
That includes the app's sponsored face lenses, sponsored geofilters, and 'Snap Ads' vertical video format. More recently, he led the development of Snap Publisher, a tool that promises to let advertisers create vertical video campaigns for Snapchat in less than two minutes.
His team is also responsible for Snapchat's recently announced self-service tool for marketers, which is expected to open the floodgates for small business advertising dollars.
Sellis has been at Snap since early 2015. Before that he served as COO of influencer network HelloSociety, which was acquired by The New York Times.
After spending over a decade at Viacom leading its ad sales and marketing, Jeff Lucas left for Snapchat in 2016 to be its VP of Global Sales, reporting to CSO Imran Khan.
The industry veteran now leads a growing sales team spread out across Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, London, Sydney and Toronto. Around the time he joined, Snapchat started letting advertisers buy ads through an automated, auction-based system.
The fact that Lucas came from Viacom is likely no coincidence -- the media conglomerate signed a multiyear deal with Snapchat to sell ads for the app in February 2016.
As VP of Customer Operations, Kakkar is the go-to person when advertisers need support or have complaints. She leads all of Snapchat's customer support and helps manage revenue operations along with trust and safety.
Before she joined Snap in 2015, Kakkar was the managing director of Accenture. She now reports to CSO Imran Khan.
Snap acquired Placed for $US135 million in June 2017, signalling its foray into selling third-party measurement data.
The type of specific data Placed specialises in is the ability to track digital campaigns and show how they drive real-world purchases and store visits. The company has measured $US500 million in advertising spend related to store visits since its inception six years ago.
Although it's owned by Snap now, Placed will continue to operate independently and sell its data to other companies. Its CEO, David Shim, stayed on after the acquisition to lead Placed's more than 100 employees in Seattle. He reports directly to Snap CSO Imran Khan.
Ben Schwerin's job is to get the biggest events and networks hooked on Snapchat.
As VP of Partnerships, Schwerin works with organisations like the NBA, NFL, MLB, and the NCAA to increase their presence in the app. His deals are the reason people can watch videos from the sidelines of a football game or award shows like the VMAs.
Before Schwerin became Snapchat's deal architect, he cofounded Fenway Strategies, a business communications firm. He also served as an aide to Bill Clinton and musical group U2.
Sean Mills is leading Snap's recent push into becoming a destination for original shows.
As Head of Original Content, Mills leads a team responsible for working closely with Snap's rapidly growing roster of show partners, from NBC to Discovery. He's a vocal advocate of Snapchat's vertical video format and teaching partners how to create shows exclusively for mobile.
So far, his approach is working. Snap has aired roughly one dozen shows in the last year, drawn over 88 million unique viewers across all shows, won multiple Emmy awards, and scored a $US100 million deal to develop shows with Time Warner.
Philippe Browning is a long-time Snap 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 burgeoning real estate plans.
Snapchat is one of the fastest innovating companies around, and former Pandora CTO Tom Conrad jumped on board in March 2016 to oversee the close-knit team behind its quick-changing features.
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 have 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.
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 before joining Snap.
As Snap's Head of Global Brand Strategy, Betsy Lack is behind some of Snap's buzziest brand activations, from its yellow ferris wheel at the Cannes advertising festival in France to its ultra-exclusive rooftop penthouse for big-name partners in New York City.
She joined Snap in 2016 from Vanity Fair, where she ran the magazine's prestigious New Establishment conference. She reports to CSO Imran Khan.
Snap acquired Bitmoji maker Bitstrips for $US100 million in early 2016 for its ability to turn people into emoji versions of themselves.
Instead of killing the standalone Bitmoji app, Snap has kept it running independently. As a result, Bitmoji has remained a permanent fixture in the App Store's top charts.
Bitmoji has meanwhile become deeply integrated within Snapchat as well. The recently announced Snap Maps feature is a good example of how Snap is using Bitmoji to give its users virtual avatars.
As CEO of Bitstrips, Jacob 'Ba' Blackstock remains an integral part of Bitmoji's creative direction and leads the app's group of artists out of Toronto, Canada. He reports to Evan Spiegel.
In January, Sennifer Park Stout left the US Department of State for the private sector to become Snap's new Head of Global Public Policy.
Now she's in charge of deepening Snap's ties with Washington DC and other governments where the company operates.
Stout has spent most of her career in government, having started her career working as a 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 serving as the Department of State's deputy chief of staff.
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. Europe is the company's second-largest market outside of North America.
While not responsible for a large chunk of Snapchat's sales now, Hussein Freijeh's job as General Manager of MENA Sales is strategically important as the company looks to monetise outside of North America and Europe.
Snap has said that it's only concerned with monetizing users in the most developed parts of the world, and Freijeh's outpost represents an opportunity to tap into the increasingly mobile-first user base available throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
(Biz Carson contributed to an earlier version of this story.)
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