The ultimate showdown for Logan Roy’s throne has been brewing for a long time in Succession, and the finale reveals who wins it. His children Kendall, Roman, and Shiv Roy have been scheming, backstabbing, and lying their way to the top since the beginning, but Logan Roy’s sudden death in Succession season 4 quickly decides who will win.
In the final moments of Succession’s series finale, the fate of Waystar Royco and its potential merger with GoJo hangs in the balance as the board votes on who will lead the company: Kendall Roy or Tom Wambsgans, Shiv’s husband.
Season 4 is all about Lukas Matsson’s bid to take over Waystar Royco and his offer to make Shiv the CEO. This drives a wedge between her and her brothers, Kendall and Roman.
However, when Lukas reveals that he wants Tom instead of Shiv, the three Roy siblings finally come together on the same side. Their unity is tested again when the board vote ends in a deadlock of six-to-six, and Shiv holds the deciding vote.
As they argue in the next room, their old grudges, secrets, and fears emerge, and we experience the brilliant dramatic intricacies that Succession brings to the table for the audience.
1. Tom Wambsgans Is Waystar’s New CEO
In the finale, Shiv dashes into the room and votes for the GoJo deal after telling Kendall that he is not fit to be CEO, especially when he admits his involvement in the waiter’s death at Shiv’s wedding.
It seals Kendall’s fate and makes Tom Wambsgans the new CEO, as he is offered the job by Lukas Matsson instead of Shiv. With GoJo in charge of Waystar Royco, Tom can build his new empire while still serving Lukas.
However, not all the Roys are doomed in Succession’s series finale, as Greg stays with the company until the end.
Lukas’s scheme to make Tom the CEO of Waystar Royco has always been linked to his connection to the Roy family, as Shiv’s pregnancy means that Logan’s legacy will live on without having to put Shiv or her brothers in power.
While Tom will have to bear the brunt of Lukas’s blunders and be the face of Waystar’s actions, his mix of deceit and loyalty pays off to give him the company’s crown.
2. Why Tom is the Natural Successor
Kendall, Roman, and Shiv have the Roy blood, but they have other interests besides business, unlike Tom, who is ready to submit to anyone who gives him some power.
Moreover, the Roys have too many mental obstacles to overcome within their own family: Kendall has betrayed Logan and – as Shiv reminds him – killed a boy without facing any justice; Shiv faces sexism from both Mencken (who doesn’t think a woman should be CEO) and Lukas (who wants to bed her); and Roman is seen as too soft to handle the role after weeping at Logan’s funeral, and doesn’t really want the CEO title.
Tom, however, has been climbing up Waystar’s ladder for years, with Shiv herself saying that his ruthless business moves attracted her to him.
Tom proves he is worthy of being Logan’s heir when he turns on Shiv in the season 3 finale, showing that he would do anything to rise up the corporate ladder.
The new CEO has always competed with the Roys and been mocked for his high-level ambitions, but Succession’s finale showed that he fought hard enough to be Logan’s true heir.
3. Shiv Gets to have the Last Laugh
Shiv may not be the CEO, but she comes out of the series with much more control over Waystar than Roman and Kendall by carrying the company’s future.
While Tom doesn’t have the Roy blood, being married to Shiv with a baby on the way boosts the couple’s stake in the Waystar crown as a continuation of Logan’s lineage.
Roman himself says that Shiv’s child would be the way to keep the Roy bloodline at Waystar, which is still achieved with Tom as CEO. Tom needs Shiv to keep Logan’s name close to power, and Shiv needs Tom since he is the CEO and has access to the deepest depths of the company.
This altruistic partnership now effectively puts a potential divorce off the table. After Tom’s reign, Shiv’s baby will also likely be seen as next in line for CEO and become the face of the company’s future, thus allowing her to have a big influence over Waystar.
After the finale’s transfer-of-power fiasco, Shiv is clearly the most powerful Roy, though her ending is certainly not a happy one.
4. About Succession
Succession is a satirical comedy-drama TV series created by Jesse Armstrong for HBO. The American TV series first aired on HBO on June 3, 2018 and has four seasons.
It follows the Roy family who are owners of the conglomerate media house WayStar RoyCo. With patriarch Logan Roy’s (Brian Cox) health on a steady decline, the heirs of the family business rival against each other for their rightful succession.
Part of the ensemble cast as Logan Roy’s children are Jeremy Strong playing Kendall, Kieran Culkin playing Roman, and Sarah Snook playing Siobhan.