There is no substitute for a culture of integrity in organizations. Compliance alone with the law is not enough. History shows that those who make a practice of skating close to the edge always wind up going over the line. A higher bar of ethics performance is necessary. That bar needs to be set and monitored in the boardroom.  ~J. Richard Finlay writing in The Globe and Mail.

Sound governance is not some abstract ideal or utopian pipe dream. Nor does it occur by accident or through sudden outbreaks of altruism. It happens when leaders lead with integrity, when directors actually direct and when stakeholders demand the highest level of ethics and accountability.  ~ J. Richard Finlay in testimony before the Standing Committee on Banking, Commerce and the Economy, Senate of Canada.

The Finlay Centre for Corporate & Public Governance is the longest continuously cited voice on modern governance standards. Our work over the course of four decades helped to build the new paradigm of ethics and accountability by which many corporations and public institutions are judged today.

The Finlay Centre was founded by J. Richard Finlay, one of the world’s most prescient voices for sound boardroom practices, sanity in CEO pay and the ethical responsibilities of trusted leaders. He coined the term stakeholder capitalism in the 1980s.

We pioneered the attributes of environmental responsibility, social purposefulness and successful governance decades before the arrival of ESG. Today we are trying to rebuild the trust that many dubious ESG practices have shattered. 


We were the first to predict seismic boardroom flashpoints and downfalls and played key roles in regulatory milestones and reforms.

We’re working to advance the agenda of the new boardroom and public institution of today: diversity at the table; ethics that shine through a culture of integrity; the next chapter in stakeholder capitalism; and leadership that stands as an unrelenting champion for all stakeholders.

Our landmark work in creating what we called a culture of integrity and the ethical practices of trusted organizations has been praised, recognized and replicated around the world.


Our rich institutional memory, combined with a record of innovative thinking for tomorrow’s challenges, provide umatached resources to corporate and public sector players.

Trust is the asset that is unseen until it is shattered.  When crisis hits, we know a thing or two about how to rebuild trust— especially in turbulent times.

We’re still one of the world’s most recognized voices on CEO pay and the role of boards as compensation credibility gatekeepers. Somebody has to be.

The game has changed.  RIM’s management has not.  Neither has its board.

Today’s latest (20 percent) plunge in the stock of Canadian based Research In Motion, this time because the company missed about every expected metric for the quarter, re-confirms that RIM needs a new operating system for its boardroom.  It is the board, with a its succession of lame directors, that has permitted a culture of smugness, distraction and disconnection to cloud the judgment and performance of top management, and has too long tolerated a disingenuous streak in the way the co-founders deal with adversity.  This is what has led to RIM’s fall from glory and the devastation of its stock.  Management was playing its own game and setting its own rules.  It thought success would continue indefinitely and the market would defer endlessly to its much-trumpeted wisdom.

The game has changed.  RIM’s management has not.  BlackBerrys are out.  Apples are in.  The kids decide what’s hip and everybody wants to be cool.  Holding up a new Playbook is the definition of uncool.  Launching it in the summer is the definition of stupidity.   Only grandiose egos, too used to everyone genuflecting to their brilliance, could come up with this foolishness.

Long before it became popular, in the wake of the billions of dollars in company value that have been obliterated, we lamented the weaknesses of RIM’s governance practices .  We predicted further casualties from a board mentality where management is effectively accountable to itself and still allows a regime involving co-this and co-that at the top that would not be tolerated in any mature, self-respecting company, let alone one that is experiencing something of a freefall in its shares. The stock is down more than 60 percent this year.  No significant change in management, or the board for that matter, has been forthcoming.

RIM’s problems will not end until the board steps up, key management actors are forced to step down and a new culture of accountability is rebooted in RIM’s boardroom.