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The chief operating officer could be called the "second banana" position to the CEO, but it's often seen as a stepping stone to that top job. And while the COO position is most commonly held by men in the United States, as with the CEO, there's been an uptick in the number of women taking that critical COO position at high-performing tech companies. That's according to Leigh Gallagher, editor at Fortune. She says think Sheryl Sandberg at Facebook. Could this be the beginning of a Silicon Valley with more female CEOs? Or is something else going on here?

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Follow Kai Ryssdal at @kairyssdal