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HBO’s Succession: Here’s who could (or should) run Waystar Royco

Since debuting on HBO in June 2018, the satirical comedy-drama Succession has kept viewers continuously guessing about the future of the fictional global media and hospitality company Waystar Royco.

The series follows the lives of company head and family patriarch Logan Roy, his four adult children — Conner, Kendall, Siobhan (“Shiv”), and Roman — and their efforts to secure the top position in the company once dear dad decides to step down. But it isn’t just the Logan children who are in the running for the illustrious position of CEO. Here’s a look at who should — or likely will — be running the billion-dollar company when the dust settles. (Note: Spoilers ahead for season 2).

Logan Roy (Brian Cox)

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The most obvious choice, at least for the time being, is Logan himself, who still seems to be his same snarky and arrogant self despite all of his health issues. Ruthless and guided by ego, his incessant desire to win makes him the most driven and determined of the bunch. He accepts that the world is changing from print newspapers and local news stations to mobile apps and streaming, yet he believes Waystar Royco can and will be the last man standing in traditional media. Nevertheless, Logan will still need fresh, young eyes in his corner, whether he’s at the helm or not.

Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong)

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The most obvious successor and the person Logan seems to truly want to appoint, Kendall is smart, driven, focused, and excited to help the company move into the 21st century. However, he can also be flighty, jumping on any pitch that sounds like it has promise. Kendall can be groomed for the position, but his immaturity, drug problems, and sordid past make him unfit to lead at this point in time. Unfortunate circumstances have turned him into nothing more than daddy’s yes man.

Roman Roy (Kieran Culkin)

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The youngest Roy child swears like a drunken sailor and acts like a crude frat boy, but with so many startup millionaires and billionaires being millennials, Roman is oddly the most respected and relatable member of the family to them. He doesn’t really know the business, despite having taken a management training course at the behest of his father. However, he sometimes has good instincts, and he’s the guy who they always send to butter up a young potential investor or meet with the partner who dislikes Kendall. Roman’s idea to set up a dream team with Gerri (see below) is actually a solid one, because he can’t do it on his own — but with someone like Gerri by his side as a co-CEO, he could have a shot.

Siobhan ‘Shiv’ Roy (Sarah Snook)

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Shiv is the most logical choice as a successor. Logan put his old boy’s club ideals aside to offer her the position — despite his reservations — and she seemed all-in on the idea. The smartest and most level-headed of the Roy children, she’s cunning, manipulative, and knows how to get what she wants, thanks to a career working in politics. Though she can sometimes act too impulsively, she never second-guesses her decisions. Her latest move — to encourage her father to appoint Rhea (see below) as CEO just before a massive backlash, presumably so she can swoop in to take over and save the day — shows she’s ready to make the tough moves her other siblings won’t in order to keep the business in the family.

Connor Roy (Alan Ruck)

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The least likely sibling to take over, Connor is completely uninterested in the corporate drama, preferring instead to live quietly away from it all, then oddly deciding to run for president. Connor doesn’t seem to have any keen business sense, having never actually worked a day in his life — but that might make him the easiest to mold as a figurehead. With Connor bleeding through cash to fund his girlfriend’s dream to become a playwright, he might have no choice but to bend to dad’s wishes and actually earn his money. Molding Connor into Logan 2.0 could be a viable plan, if simply out of desperation.

Marcia Roy (Hiam Abbass)

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There’s something up with Marcia, Logan’s current wife with a mysterious past, who seems to quietly lurk in the background as she attempts to gain enough votes to give her more power than Logan’s children. Marcia, for her part, seems to be more entrenched in what’s going on than others realize, and has more influence on Logan as well. Rhea has since thrown a wrench into her plans, but could Marcia emerge as a potential successor? Likely not, but she’s worth watching nonetheless, as someone who could stir up some trouble for whoever does rise to the top.

Gerri Kellman (J. Smith-Cameron)

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Longtime general counsel for the company, Gerri has killer instincts, even if she often lacks the confidence to speak up, fearful of backlash from Logan. She has the strongest ties to the family, and through season 2, she has shown a more cunning side, quietly weaving through people in power to get others to do her dirty work. She knows the business and every legal loophole; she’s the glue that holds the company together. With Roman as the Roy face and her quietly pulling the strings in the background and keeping him in check, they really could make a solid leading team.

Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen)

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A long shot to take over the company, Tom is a power- and money-hungry executive who is willing to do whatever it takes to move up the ladder. Now married to Shiv, he has firmly placed his feet within the Roy family, even if they are constantly dismissing him. While he’s not qualified to lead a billion-dollar corporation, he has shown insight — most notably in leveraging young cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun) to help cover up a scandal and find ways to save money for the news division. Sometimes the best leaders are those who know how to use the abilities of others, and from this perspective, Tom could hold the position, but let’s get real: He shouldn’t.

Sandy Furness (Larry Pine)

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Logan’s nemesis, Sandy, who owns a rival media conglomerate, became hell-bent on a hostile takeover of Waystar Royco after Kendall and financier Stewy (Arian Moayed) planted the idea in his head. While Logan will stop at nothing to ensure this doesn’t happen, Sandy is just as egocentric and will likely continue to pursue the plan to take Logan down and become the most powerful man in media. He is certainly the most qualified of the bunch, though he’s also considered another dinosaur in the industry.

Rhea Jarrell (Holly Hunter)

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Officially holding the CEO post as of season 2’s eighth episode, Rhea was formerly the CEO of Pierce Media Group, but was fired once the head and majority owner, Nan Pierce (see below). believed she was trying to force her into an acquisition. Now firmly aligned with Logan, she has positioned herself as a confidant and able-bodied leader, convincing Logan to look outside of the family for his successor. Butting heads with Shiv, she crafted a clever plan to make Logan question his daughter’s loyalty to the family, then swooped in to take the leadership post. While she will likely face turmoil in the near future, for now, she has the most potential to be Logan’s official successor.

Nan Pierce (Cherry Jones)

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Bitter about a failed takeover attempt by Logan, Nan, the head of PGM and the Pierce family, might decide that a little revenge is in order. Struggling with consecutive losses, she is in need of a turnaround — and if an acquisition by Waystar Royco is no longer in the cards, she might decide to swing the other way. She has the experience running a respected news organization, and the overall business acumen, but does she have any interest in expanding her empire? In term of qualifications, Nan could take over Waystar, absorb its news divisions, and shutter all others.

Christine Persaud
Christine has decades of experience in trade and consumer journalism. While she started her career writing exclusively about…
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