Succession could be categorized into a lot of different genres. Satire, black comedy, family drama, and workplace dramedy are all some of the descriptors critics have used throughout the last half-decade when trying to put their finger on what the show is about. But as the fourth and final season of the show is now running full-steam ahead every Sunday on HBO, some fans are noticing a long-running element returning to prominence amongst the Roys: the complicated art of corporate business competition.
Pure plot has never been the main purpose of Succession, but it doesn’t hurt to understand all of the niche terms and obscure side characters that are being referenced as the Roy family feuds over control of their empire in these last several episodes. Many of the names being thrown around during the early part of the fourth season are competitors of Logan Roy (Brian Cox) throughout the series so far. As these rival CEOs enter, exit, and re-enter the Roy family orbit, it can be a little confusing to fans who they all are and how they might factor into the final outcome of the show. We’re here to help, though! From Sandi Furness to Nan Pierce, we’ll cover all of Logan’s business competitors who you may have forgotten about.
Stewy Hosseini (Arian Moayed)
Arian Moayed’s recurring character has become somewhat of a fan favorite throughout the four seasons of the show. He actually appeared all the way back in the show’s first episode when he’s introduced as one of Kendall Roy’s (Jeremy Strong) oldest friends. Their relationship is an unhealthy one, though, as the characters allude to shared activities like cocaine use throughout their younger years while attending Harvard. Stewy has been an integral part of Kendall’s business pursuits throughout the show, starting with when Ken sold Stewy large shares of his stock in Waystar Royco in season one. This was supposed to help get the Roy family out of debt, but it’s only complicated things down the line and in the current season for the Roy family.
Stewy has a board seat as part of his stock holdings, meaning that he has to agree to the deals that the Roy family pursue with Lukas Mattson of GoJo (Alexander Skarsgård) in the sale of the company. Along with Sandi Furness (played by Hope Davis, more on her later), Stewy is trying to convince the Roy siblings to increase the price of Waystar before the GoJo acquisition becomes concrete. Logan is clearly against this, therefore we see why Shiv (Sarah Snook) and Kendall have softened on the idea of pursuing Stewy and Sandi’s ideas for a financial hike. The main trick Stewy has up his sleeve is his very personal relationship with Kendall. This remains the case in season four even as the duo have drifted apart since their younger years partying in college.
Sandi Furness (Hope Davis)
Sandi is the daughter of Logan’s bitter rival, Sandy Furness, a man who is a reflection of what Logan Roy could become in an alternate dimension or universe. Sandy is now basically incapacitated and confined to a wheelchair. Sandi gets to make the decisions for her father now, something that has been a pipe dream for the Roy siblings throughout the show. She especially works well as a brilliant reflection of what Shiv is trying to accomplish.
Sandi has worked closely with Stewy throughout the series, and she’s appeared alongside him yet again in the beginning of the fourth season. She wants to squeeze Logan’s pocketbook and prevent the sale of the company to GoJo without asking for more money. This puts both Logan and Lukas Mattson at a disadvantage in their negotiations. At the end of the second episode of the fourth season, it appears Sandi has been able to convince Shiv and Kendall to go along with her plans. We’ll see what trouble she’s able to stir up in the upcoming weeks.
Nan Pierce (Cherry Jones)
Nan Pierce is the head of the Pierce family. She played a prominent role in the second season of the show when Logan tried to purchase Pierce Global Media (PGM). PGM is arguably Waystar’s main competitor in the media world of Succession. The sale fell through late in the season, but Nan is now back on our screens in season four. Nan wasn’t the main focus of PGM in the second season, as most of the negotiations between the two parties centered on the relationship between Logan and PGM’s CEO at the time, Rhea Jarrell (Holly Hunter).
The Roy siblings pursue Nan personally at her Los Angeles home in the premiere after finding out that Logan is trying to buy PGM out yet again. Their overzealous bid of $10 billion wins the attention of Nan, giving the Roy children their first win of the season over their crotchety father.
Lukas Mattson (Alexander Skarsgård)
Lukas Mattson could be considered Logan Roy’s main antagonist in this final season of Succession. Mattson was introduced in the third season as a billionaire tech mogul in the vein of Elon Musk. He’s a self-entitled, pompous, conceited up-and-comer who has big visions for Waystar Royco after he merges his company (GoJo) with the Roys’ media entity (ATN). Mattson thinks Logan and his children are living in the past and he’s looking to advance Waystar into the 2020s with the type of tech bro arrogance we’ve come to expect from someone of his ilk.
The relationship between Mattson and Logan started off on the right foot, but as Kendall and Shiv push for a higher sale price with Sandi and Stewy in an effort to screw over Logan, Mattson could see himself completely overwhelmed by the powerful ineptitude of the Roys. He threatens Kendall about pulling out of the merger completely if they keep trying to force him into contributing more cash to the deal, but this might be exactly what Ken and Shiv are wanting him to do. We’ve only seen Mattson in a video call with Ken in the second episode, but rumors are swirling that Mattson will get a lot more screen time as the final episodes are revealed.
New episodes of Succession premiere at 9 p.m. ET on Sundays on HBO.