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.

Too many posts to handle? If you missed out on a great post from last month, here’s a quick digest of the top posts that you may want to check out:
  • A Wish for Easter
    Posted on Friday, April 10th, 2009 in An Easter Wish – Comments: (0)
    Easter is a time that brings with it the miracle of spring and the re-birth of the land and the trees, the return of the songbirds and the reappearance of the tulips and spring blossoms. For Christians, it marks a celebration of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and of the lessons he taught his flock about peace, understanding, love and kindness towards others, and, especially, toward the least fortunate.
  • Bank of America and the Inexorable Laws of Physics
    Posted on Thursday, April 30th, 2009 in $700 Billion Bailout – Comments: (0)
    The decision of a majority of shareholders at Bank of America to oppose the board and separate the positions of CEO and chair, appointing an independent director to the latter position, is one for the books.  This is the biggest institution in the history of business where shareholders have brought about such a dramatic change in corporate governance practices and actually removed a top title from a sitting CEO.
  • Did Citigroup’s Shareholders Have a Case of Flu, Too?
    Posted on Monday, April 27th, 2009 in $700 Billion Bailout – Comments: (0)
    It is hard to imagine how the bank could have done any worse if Bernie Madoff had been on its board.There was sound and fury, but in the end it appeared to signify nothing.  At Citigroup’s annual meeting last week, not a single shareholder proposal for reform was adopted.  Every board/management nominee was returned.  Over the past year, the company’s losses soared to $28 billion and its market capitalization has dwindled from $260 billion at the beginning of 2007 to $16 billion now.
  • Is the SEC Missing the Corporate Governance Forest?
    Posted on Tuesday, April 14th, 2009 in $700 Billion Bailout – Comments: (1)
    The agency that bills itself as “the investor’s advocate” needs to go well beyond asking boards to chime in on what’s behind their structure.  It needs to focus on the bigger picture of the role of the board in the worst financial crisis since the 1930s and the persistent folly of directors who do not direct.  That, in our view, is the real definition of systemic risk.
  • Outrage of the Week: Retreat Behind the Curtains
    Posted on Friday, April 3rd, 2009 in $700 Billion Bailout – Comments: (0)
    Does FASB’s change in accounting standards improve investor confidence or detract from it?  Is it a move consistent with a renewed commitment to transparency, or is it that famous political game of dressing up disaster like putting lipstick on a pig?If you looked at all the causes of the great recession of 2008-2009 -which would doubtless include unbridled greed, an unconscionable obliviousness to risk, complacent regulators and sleeping boards- lack of transparency would figure high on the list.
  • Remembering Vimy
    Posted on Thursday, April 9th, 2009 in Canada – Comments: (0)
    The day a nation became transformed by its heroes.Precisely 90 years ago today in a field in France, the four divisions of the Canadian Corps began their legendary assault on German forces in one of the pivotal clashes of the First World War -the battle of Vimy Ridge.My grandfather and several great uncles were there in the thick of it.
  • The Titanic of Ironies
    Posted on Thursday, April 16th, 2009 in $700 Billion Bailout – Comments: (1)
    The calamity of the ship which was thought too big to sink did not capsize the company that owned it. But the White Star Line, which had roamed the seas through wars, depressions and revolutions since the mid-1800s, was unable to survive the greed, hubris and deceit of one man. It is an experience that carries some valuable lessons for today’s financial empires and Wall Street titans as well.
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