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 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 sort out the mess that many dubious ESG practices are causing.

 

We were the first to predict seismic boardroom flashpoints and downfalls, played key parts in regulatory milestones and warned about game changing upheavals in capital markets.

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.

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.

Perhaps a little slow out of the gate, but The Times has an editorial today on the most recent evidence of a widening gap in U.S. wealth. It follows similar lines as those voiced last week by Finlay ON Governance in our Outrage of the Week. The Times includes reference to record levels of CEO pay, which we, too, noted last week. The editorial rather obliquely calls this “the largess of top-tier compensation.”

In our post, we talked about the social turmoil previous periods of wealth disparity have caused. Here is an excerpt:

Capitalism has experienced these kinds of episodes in the past —the Gilded Age from 1865 to 1901 and the “malefactors of great wealth” that sparked the fury of Theodore Roosevelt and his promise of a “square deal” in a fledgling 20th century come to mind. The results produced considerable upheaval. One of the more turbulent periods was the aftermath of the Great Depression, when the promise of a “new deal” began to resonate with displaced workers who rode the rails in search of work. It is not encouraging that we are seeing a return to the milestone of 1929 in 2007.

The Times entitles its editorial “It Didn’t End Well Last Time.” Well said.