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.

There is a comprehensive report on CEO compensation prepared by Ellen Simon of Associated Press which appears in hundreds of newspapers around the world beginning today. The Los Angeles Times and the New York Times are running the report as well. I was interviewed for the piece a couple of weeks ago. The thoroughness of the study makes it one of the better efforts in an area that is finally gaining wider public attention. The survey confirms what we have long contended here: there is no rhyme or reason to CEO compensation, other than the fact that CEOs are demanding and getting outrageous amounts, and boards, composed mainly of likeminded past and current CEOs, are more than happy to oblige. It’s not really more complicated than that.

I’ve had a few things to say about out of control compensation in the boardroom for a number of years and more recently here —and I’m actually a defender of capitalism and have spent my entire career working in it. I think that may be one of the reasons why the press has been rather curious about my views for the past couple of decades. When I started to raise concerns about this subject there was virtually no one else in business who would say a word about it —and there are still relatively few today, given the significance of the issue and the size of the business community.

I’ll have a further post on some of the ideas that formed the basis for the AP interview in the days ahead.