THE BIGGER PICTURE

Outgoing Snap executive Imran Khan has at least two good reasons for leaving

Ready to go.
Ready to go.
Image: Reuters/Brendan McDermid
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When Imran Khan announced in September that he was stepping down as Snap Inc.’s chief strategy officer, many noted that he was the latest in a series of executives to leave Snapchat’s parent company amidst a declining user base and falling shares. But during a conference in New York on Oct. 23, Khan revealed what seems to be a driving force in his departure plans.

“After four years [working at Snap], my two children, aged eight and five, they started calling me Uncle Imran,” Khan said on stage at ONWARD18, an event organized by the internet services firm Yext. “It’s important to start spending time with them.”

Khan relayed the anecdote matter-of-factly and without further detail. But the implications were clear—his children no longer addressed him as their father, and perhaps barely saw him as a relative (in many Asian cultures, “uncle” and “auntie” are honorifics applied to older friends, and well as to family members).

Khan joined Snap in early 2015 and guided the company through its initial public offering, developed its advertising operations, and helped build its revenue. Prior to working at Snap, Khan was the head of global internet investment banking at Credit Suisse and led the IPO for Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba, still the largest share sale ever.

Now he’s aiming to build something from scratch. “As a kid, I wanted to start something for myself…I have never had experiences going from zero to a billion,” he said. While Khan did not give further details on what kind of firm he wants to start, reports from September speculate that it will be an investment fund based in Los Angeles.

Khan didn’t confirm any of that at ONWARD18, saying only, “I need to take some time and spend some time with my children so they get to know who I am,” he said. “And I want to build something from the beginning.”

Snap announced today (Oct. 24) that Jared Grusd, formerly the CEO of Huffington Post, will replace Khan, who had previously agreed to assist in the transition period as the company searched for his replacement. Amidst the business’ uncertain future, Snap has moved on quickly.