OUR ENDURING MISSION
The Centre for Corporate & Public Governance, now The Finlay Centre for Corporate & Public Governance, has been illuminating the evolution of private enterprise and public trust for more than four decades. It is North America’s first fully independent think tank dedicated to improving boardroom practices and strengthening standards of accountability and stakeholder delivery in major corporations and public institutions.
The Centre’s ground-breaking research, informed advocacy and persuasive media presence have transformed standards of corporate corporate governance, public accountability and stakeholder capitalism. Our insights and ideas on the timeless truths of equity, diversity, fairness and accountability as not only building blocks in society’s progress but corporate success as well have influenced generations of responsible leaders and thoughtful decision makers for more than forty years. They continue to do so today.
Widely recognized for its contributions to landmark legislative and regulatory reforms, The Centre was the first organization of its kind to testify before the landmark corporate governance hearings of the Toronto Stock Exchange and first to be designated an expert witness on corporate governance during hearings of Canada’s Senate banking committee in the early 1990s. The hearings came about at the behest of The Centre.
Many boardroom practices that are today taken for granted, including the formal education and certification of directors, disclosure of the number of board positions held by any one director, the creation of fully independent compensation committees, and the codification of board best practices, were first given voice by The Centre in public hearings, keynote speeches, legislative testimony and in dozens of op-eds. The Centre was the first to propose the creation of the modern governance committee, which today are common among all boards of publicly listed companies.
The same focus on the transparency, accountability and ethical standards The Centre originally brought to corporate governance it also brings to public institutions. It’s critique of the governance practices of the IMF and the New York Federal Reserve, for instance, drew attention and discussion at the highest levels, including the Congress of the United States.
The Finlay Centre for Corporate & Public Governance is regularly sought out by governments, the scholarly community and the media for its authoritative insights and expert commentary. The Centre has advised national governments, public sector agencies, financial institutions, communications giants and law firms on critical governance and ethics issues, including significant crisis management incidents.
Directors Must Direct
When I say directors need to direct, I am talking about a board that will really supervise the management of the corporation. Above all, directors need to exercise independent judgment in determining what is both perceived and known to be in the best interest of the company, of its stockholders, its reliant stakeholders and, ultimately, of society itself. This is the trust that directors assume when they accept the responsibility of directing.”
— Testimony by J. Richard Finlay, appearing as the first witness ever to be called as an expert in corporate governance before the Banking Committee of the Senate of Canada, 1994.
“J. Richard Finlay, who has been warning about the dearth of corporate ethics in boardrooms for years, says there is a major shift in the works. “The sight of so many things going wrong is making people nervous and angry,” says the chairman of the Toronto-based Centre for Corporate and Public Governance.
Finlay says until now most speculative busts did not affect ordinary people so directly. Enron has clearly hit people at their most vulnerable – in their pension funds, many of which now appear to be worthless. “There’s a rage we haven’t seen since the 1929 crash.”’
Meet John Dough Globe and Mail, Feb 2002.
“Others, like J. Richard Finlay, the director of the Centre for Corporate and Public Governance in Toronto, were more blunt. “The fact that RIM’s top management and board could take so long to come up with so little just shows how out of touch they remain,” he says. “It’s obvious that Balsillie and Lazaridis wanted their guy in the top slot and do not grasp why shareholders were looking for more than a marionette whose strings they can pull any time.” Investors, too, don’t appear convinced that he’s the right man for the job. RIM’s shares fell nine per cent after the markets opened on Monday, and another three per cent on Tuesday.”
— The Canadian Encyclopedia, s.v. “The Fall of the Blackberry Titans,” by Richard Warnica, Charlie Gillis, Chris Sorensen, and Cathy Gulli