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:
  • Did You Say “Fraud,” Mr. Mozilo?
    Posted on Friday, June 5th, 2009 in $700 Billion Bailout – Comments: (1)
    When Countrywide Financial’s Angelo Mozilo told a Congressional committee in 2007 that there was a lot of fraud in the subprime business, we thought at the time it might be a prophetic statement.   The Securities and Exchange Commission apparently agrees, as this week it laid civil charges of securities fraud against the company’s former CEO. What we sometime ago dubbed as Mr.
  • The Bankruptcy of General Motors and the Fall of the Business Era that Produced It
    Posted on Monday, June 1st, 2009 in $700 Billion Bailout – Comments: (0)
    It is not just an American icon that has foundered, but an age that has too long emphasized the wrong values, and sometimes no values at all.And so the unthinkable has finally happened. The company that was once the marvel of the world, its largest industrial corporation and the first stock listed on the NYSE, has become the biggest industrial bankruptcy in history.
  • The Missing Question in the Obama Regulatory Reforms: Where Was the Board? | Part 1
    Posted on Thursday, June 18th, 2009 in $700 Billion Bailout – Comments: (1)
    Had there been no board at all at AIG, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, General Motors and so many others, it is hard to imagine how the outcome could have been any worse for those institutions and their investors. This is a stunning indictment of a vital and much relied upon function of modern business that creates real systemic risk.
  • There is Madness in the Madoff Punishment, Too
    Posted on Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 in Bernie Madoff – Comments: (1)
    Are we looking here at a return to the kind of circus-like justice found in the Roman Colosseum two thousand years ago, designed as much to entertain as it was to penalize?Many things come to mind with the sentencing in Manhattan federal court of Bernard Madoff for the almost incalculable fraud he inflicted upon so many victims. Unfortunately, what stands out most about yesterday’s courtroom drama is that the extravagance of the crime appears to have been surpassed only by the exaggeration of the punishment.
  • Who Killed Nortel?
    Posted on Monday, June 22nd, 2009 in Board of Directors – Comments: (0)
    More than two years ago, we asked the question “How long can Nortel go on being Nortel?” The final answer came this weekend, when it was announced that the remains of the company would be broken up and sold off, leaving not much except a once- respected, but long since discredited, name.You might wonder what happened to Canada’s most valued corporate prize–this bastion of innovation that put Canadian technology on the map around the world.
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