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.

Nice to see The New York Times come on board with editorial concerns today similar to those stated in our Outrage of the Week posting last Friday. You don’t often see an editorial dealing with technical business laws, like Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, but as the Times points out, and as we argued on Friday,

The Bush administration — with the vocal support of business interests — is arguing that the time is right to loosen some of the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate reform law, passed after the scandals at Enron and WorldCom.

It also cites, as we did, a disturbing example of why the new laws are important to investors:

Last week, General Motors restated five years of financial results. In its annual report, the company warned that the lack of effective internal controls “could adversely affect our financial condition and ability to carry out our strategic business plan.”

The Times concludes:

While the new rules may be a hassle, it is clear that auditing internal controls is helping companies clean up their acts and it would be a serious mistake to weaken Sarbanes-Oxley.

We couldn’t agree more. Now, maybe the Times can take on another issue we have raised on these pages: all the SOX Form 52 certifications that CEOs have signed, from Apple and RIM to Nortel and GM, which previously attested to the accuracy of the financial results that are now being restated.