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.

He was a man who knew the virtues of humility and the vices of partisanship. He was a president who understood that the greatest deeds spring from the most resonant words. And as president, he actually wrote his own speeches. One of these gave voice to some of the most cogently eloquent ideas about governance and democracy ever penned. It is the idea of government of the people, by the people and for the people.

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12th 200 years ago. The home he once inhabited during the most fateful days of the Republic is now filled by a youthful president and a first family who are a living testimony to the “proposition that all men are created equal,” as Mr. Lincoln proclaimed and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned. Color has never determined the music of a child’s laughter or a father’s dream for a better life. And character is often measured by the extent to which individuals bring tolerance, opportunity and fairness to the quarters of society where they are forgotten.

A government of the people, by the people and for the people. Not a bad idea to bear in mind during times of testing, whether in the bitter winter of a civil war long ago or in the cold storms of financial turmoil today.

Leaders and ideas make a difference. Mr. Lincoln provided a towering model for both. He casts a long shadow over history, but perhaps not so long that someone cannot someday fill a similar role and step into the sunlight that will bring hope and opportunity to many again.

Happy Birthday, Mr. President.