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Who Is Mark Zuckerberg’s New No. 2? It’s a Trick Question.

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For more than a decade, Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg began and ended each week by meeting together.The symbolism of the ritual was clear. It was intended to signal that Mr. Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Meta, and Ms. Sandberg, the chief operating officer, were in lock step with each other at the top of the company.But when Ms. Sandberg, 52, said on Wednesday that she would step down from Meta this fall, she crystallized an unspoken change at the tech giant: Mr. Zuckerberg no longer has any clear No. 2.While Mr. Zuckerberg named Javier Olivan, a longtime executive, to take over Ms. Sandberg’s job when she departs, the importance of the chief operating officer role has diminished at Meta, which was formerly known as Facebook. Mr. Zuckerberg, 38, instead has four executives who have equally large responsibilities and who answer to and run major decisions by him.Mr. Zuckerberg made the structural shift because he wanted to consolidate his control over all arms of the company, th …

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