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.

The American justice system, which Conrad M. Black disparaged before, during and after his conviction on fraud and obstruction of justice charges in 2007, has taken a surprising turn today -surprising to Mr. Black, especially.  The U.S. Supreme Court announced this morning that it will hear his appeal.

A few years ago, there were not many who would have refused to listen to whatever Mr. Black wanted to say.  He was courted, honored, praised and saluted throughout North America and Europe by presidents, prime ministers and princes.  Now, the only people who matter are the nine justices of the top court of the land.   This is not the best time, still, for Mr. Black, who remains in prison, and some of his friends, who have their own travails with various forms of the legal system. 

Garth Drabinsky was found guilty of fraud in a Toronto court earlier this year. Former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney is even now at the center of a commission of inquiry looking into the circumstances which saw his receiving envelopes of cash, beginning just after he retired from office, from a shady arms dealer who is wanted by the German government.  Conrad Black served on the board of Livent, the company founded by Mr. Drabinsky, who was a close friend. Brian Mulroney elevated Conrad Black to membership in Canada’s privy council, a rare honor for those who do not hold public office.  Conrad Black was a long-time friend of Mr. Mulroney and a major financial backer of the Conservative party under his leadership.   All of these men are members the Order of Canada and were trained in the law.

Mr. Black has frequently opined on the failings of the U.S. justice system. But as he now begins to set his gaze upon the only remaining nine citizens of planet Earth who hold the key to his future in their hands, one can soon expect to hear that institution trumpeted, in true Blackarian form, as the Founders’ purest and most noble of creations.  It’s not entirely a virtueless view, and it is a marked improvement from his lordship’s previous line about the prosecutors with toilet seats around their necks.