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.

We’ve had a few things to say about Bear Stearns’s CEO James Cayne over the past few months. He also made it into the Finlay ON Governance Year End Awards. He was not a winner. Just earlier today, we suggested that standards were slipping so badly in America’s boardrooms that:

Maybe Jimmy Cayne’s sitting out a corporate crisis at Bear Stearns during a golf and bridge vacation last summer, and then doing whatever the Wall Street Journal reports he did involving a rather controversial tobacco substitute, will be seen as pretty innocuous.

Early this evening, we learned perhaps not so innocuous. Mr. Cayne will be leaving the top post. That’s a necessary move, but it’s still not a wise idea to have him (or any former CEO) retain his position as chairman of the board, which is Mr. Cayne’s plan. Maybe it will take a little while longer for Bear Stearns’s directors to learn that too.

You will read a lot about how Mr. Cayne was another victim of the subprime meltdown that has already claimed CEOs Charles O. Prince at Citigroup and Stanley O’Neal at Merrill Lynch. Such a conclusion would be inaccurate, in our view. Mr. Cayne was uniquely a victim of himself.