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.


An Enduring Mission Built on Four Decades of Achievement

Stakeholder capitalism makes its first public appearance in 1983.

“Today there is a host of new players who also have a claim on business and the determinants of its legitimacy. They are consumer activists, environmental watchdogs, social responsibility advocates, champions of women’s rights in business and in society, and ethical investors, to mention a few.

They are called stakeholders because, while most may not own stock, they believe they are, by virtue of the power a corporation holds, just as invested in what companies do — or do not do — that affects the lives, health, economic well-being, ecosystem and human rights of everyone. They are determined to use their influence to change the way companies do business by working inside the system of capitalism itself.

Smart boards of the 1980s should begin to take note of the rising tide of what I have been calling stakeholder capitalism. It portends a sea change in the way the whole world of business works, just as Ralph Nader and Rachel Carson did for car makers and chemical producers”.

~ J. Richard Finlay, excerpt from  a speech to The Conference Board of Canada, “The Board of Directors: Coping with Changing Expectations,” November, 1983.

Who we are

The Finlay Centre for Corporate & Public Governance is the first and oldest independent think tank dedicated to advancing higher standards of ethics, transparency, social purposefulness and accountability in major corporations and public institutions. We were trailblazing these attributes long before the arrival of ESG. And we coined the term stakeholder capitalism in the 1980s.

The Finlay Centre for Corporate & Public Governance 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.

Our mission

To illuminate the promise of sound governance and trusted leadership — and the ethical practices that shape it.

Our record of accomplishment

We hold a unique track record of major contributions to modern governance standards. With unmatched prescience in foreseeing the consequences of their absence and predicting the downfall of countless corporations and public players, we bring a skill set and perspective unlike any other think tank.  Now in our fourth decade, we are one of the world’s longest and continuously cited voices championing a culture of integrity in the boardroom, sanity in CEO pay and trusted leadership in a time of turbulence.

Our sustaining vision

By contributing to the evolution of private enterprise and public trust, we add value to business and society and to the common humanity we all depend upon for the future our civilization and our planet deserve.