Succession finale spoilers: Who became CEO? The war between Tom Wambsgans, Kendall Roy, and Shiv Roy explained

Jeremy Strong as Kendall Roy in Succession.
Jeremy Strong as Kendall Roy in Succession. Pic credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO

Succession Season 4 concluded with a bittersweet finale last night. Chess moves were made, and a new CEO was finally crowned King of Waystar Royco.

The finale had a rollercoaster tonality to the storytelling last night.

The showrunners gave the audience a false sense of security as the Roy siblings were in a lighthearted alliance at one point during the episode.

Then, in one fleeting moment, it all changed, and the fate of Logan Roy’s (Brian Cox) empire was given to an unexpected winner.

The series began in the same manner as it started, with a deciding vote among the board members at Waystar Royco.

Who became CEO of Waystar Royco? Here is how the Succession Season 4 ending played out.

Succession ending explained: Who became CEO?

The series began on a contentious note between the Roy children. Shiv (Sarah Snook) had an alliance with Lukas Mattson (Alexander Skarsgård), as the GoJo boss had an agreement to place Shiv as the U.S. CEO of Waystar Royco.

Kendall (Jeremy Strong) was still on the warpath to destroy the deal with Mattson and position himself as boss.

And both Shiv and Kendall needed Roman’s (Kieran Culkin) vote to have an advantage at the board meeting. With Roman vulnerable and beaten up by fighting protestors, he ships off to Barbados to recover.

Kendall and Shiv fly out there to persuade their brother to take a side: Shiv or Kendall.

But unbeknownst to the Roys, a corporate backstabbing is at play.

Tom Wambsgans enters the contest

While Shiv and Kendall are fighting for Roman’s vote, Mattson has secretly met with Tom about a position at the company.

In the cringe-inducing conversation, Mattson tells Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) he is uncomfortable making Shiv CEO because he finds Shiv attractive. And by making Tom the CEO, he would be in control of the man who put a baby inside her.

Mattson further states he needs a CEO who will act as a sponge to absorb any pain directed at Mattson.

Tom has been a constant scapegoat of pain for the Roy family, including almost going to jail to save Logan Roy.

So, Tom agrees to be CEO if the board members agree to the acquisition.

Who wins the deciding vote?

The backstabbing gets leaked by Cousin Greg, who passes the information to Kendall.

From here, the Roy kids finally come together and ally.

And after careful deliberation, they decide Kendall should be CEO if the acquisition is voted down.

When they make it back stateside, Shiv finds out from Tom that Mattson picked him. She alerts the other siblings, who make a last-ditch effort to rally votes.

When they gather in the boardroom, everything seems to swing toward Kendall Roy’s way. That is until Shiv hesitates on her vote.

She flees the boardroom, Kendall and Roman follow, and an argument ensues. She tells Kendall he cannot run the company and then cites that he accidentally killed someone.

His pleas become pathetic and then evolve into aggression. Kendall and Roman get into a physical altercation, but Shiv leaves and votes “yes” to the GoJo deal.

Mattson inherits Waystar Royco, and Tom Wambsgans becomes the permanent successor to Logan Roy.

Why did Shiv change her mind?

As selfish and terrible as Shiv can be as an individual, she is the most empathetic of the siblings. Shiv was the only member of the family who objected to supporting Jeryd Mencken as President due to his troubling racist politics. And she has always tried to play the voice of reason among her chaotic brothers.

The answer is ultimately ambiguous, but one might consider Shiv’s speech at Logan Roy’s funeral.

In the Church and State episode, Shiv tells the funeral attendees, “…it was hard to be his daughter. He was hard on women. He couldn’t fit a whole woman in his head.”

For Shiv, Kendall would be more of the same. He was a problematic man and father who could not see past his ambitions. The ambition led to the abandonment and emotional abuse of his children– and a lifestyle of normalizing misogyny.

By giving Kendall the company, she is allowing generational trauma to continue. And the added element of Kendall killing someone compounds the issue.

Also, giving Tom the company serves as an olive branch to keep her marriage together for the sake of her unborn child.

Unfortunately, Kendall Roy could not rap his way to being CEO.

It was an emotional rollercoaster of an episode but undeniably unforgettable.

Succession can be streamed on the newly renamed streaming service, Max.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments