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 One-Way Road for Baseball’s Heroes

We have talked occasionally on these pages about the game of baseball as a metaphor for life.  It has its rules, which are to be respected, otherwise nothing can be advanced.  (Wall Street please note.)  It has its ups and downs, which test the loyalty of fans. Some teams in New York and Chicago test it more than others.  And it has its heroes, who, at their best, quietly inspire in a way that transcends age and place in life and unites both tycoon and taxi driver in a common adulation.  And it has its terrible disappointments that go beyond the loss of a game or even a season.  They break the heart. 

In recent years, there have been a lot of broken hearts.  The game has lost some of the glitter and the grace it once had.  It needs to get them back. (more…)

David Halberstam | 1934 — 2007

Porter Gifford/APAuthor. Thinker. Journalist. In the highest traditions of those professions. A civilized man for who whom baseball was a metaphor for life that taught about the place of rules, ethics and integrity in the governance and leadership of the public’s business.

For those who seek the truth, and occasionally wonder how it is discovered, his would be one of the brighter stars to lead the way.

A life well lived, indeed.

Jackie Robinson: He Made Us All Number 42

200px-Jrobinson.jpgOne of the marvelous things about the game of baseball is that its heroes are so often a metaphor for the virtues of a well lived life. Babe Ruth overcame a broken family and a childhood spent in orphanages to swing his way into America’s homes. Then there was the Yankees’ great Lou Gehrig, whose farewell address remains the epitome of a generosity of spirit and grace even when facing the darkest personal crisis. These were some of the lessons my late father, whose birthday is today, taught me. In his own way, he defined for me the ideal of the courteous and civilized gentleman —a concept itself that seems to be vanishing as fast as its adherents.

Sunday saw the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s starting with the Brooklyn Dodgers. As the first African American to play in the Major League, he taught us all something about character, determination and fairness and did it in a way that impressed everyone with his tremendous skills. This was not just the first man of color (as he was known at the time) to play in the big leagues. This was a giant who enlarged the whole game and the vistas that others saw for their lives.

For all the trailblazers who set a course upon uncharted and sometimes unfriendly waters —the women who sought, and still seek, equality of opportunity; the icons and foot soldiers of the civil rights movement; the champions of change who today are trying to save the planet; and the activists who are seeking to hold the powerful to account and standing against poverty and oppression in their communities and in far flung regions of the world— Jackie Robinson was, and remains, a shining symbol of courage and hope.

On Sunday, in homes and in hearts across the world, as it was in stadiums throughout America, we were all proud to call ourselves Number 42.