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.

Tea, Anyone?

The British breakthrough, and how it managed to smash the U.S. bailout logjam and get it moving, is just one more of those crazy, topsy-turvy turns on the bumpy road to financial sanity -and another indication that America’s global preeminence is facing some challenges.

Finally, a coherent plan seems to be emerging to address some, and some is the operative word, of the excesses, failings and weaknesses that have arisen in the financial markets. The origin is revealing. U.S. Treasury secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr.’s plan has had more iterations and setbacks than a bad Hollywood script. They were the product of a Republican administration which had a reputation for being pro-business. The British plan, on the other hand, was not only a model of speed and simplicity, conceived and adopted in a matter of days, but it came from a Labor government. Generally, business does not find itself applauding that leaning. Credit belongs to Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who actually seems to know what he is doing and what is necessary to restore confidence in the functioning of the markets.

Now, the U.S. has decided to follow the British lead and announced tonight a massive injection of capital into nine banking institutions. These measures notwithstanding, more needs to be done to understand how the world was hurled to the shaky edge of the financial abyss, who is responsible and what the costs are for the solutions that are being proposed. No reasonable person can be happy or satisfied that the excesses and senselessness of Wall Street and its counterparts elsewhere must be underwritten by public funds that soar into the trillions. Evidence suggests that public outrage is soaring just as high.

The British breakthrough, and how it managed to smash the U.S. bailout logjam, is just one more of those crazy, topsy-turvy turns on the bumpy road to financial sanity -and another indication that America’s global preeminence is facing some challenges. Perhaps Mr. Paulson should try a cup of tea more often.

Paul Krugman made some interesting observations on these points in The New York Times on the day the Nobel committee announced his prize for economics. It’s good to see someone win who has demonstrated a keen grasp of the human dimension to economics. A giant of that field, the late John Kenneth Galbraith, never received the Swedish honor, though many of his followers, including this observer, felt it was an unfortunate omission. Just before his death, Mr. Galbraith predicted the coming of a major disruption in the banking and credit sectors. He was a student of the market crash of 1929 and never really bought into the idea that it couldn’t happen again. He was correct.

Mr. Krugman is in good company taking up the Galbraith banner of making economics accessible to the people most affected. We wish him well and salute him for his distinguished achievement.

Incidentally, Mr. Krugman publicly became one of America’s newest millionaires today.  The prize is accompanied by a cash award of $1.5 million.  I believe the technical term economists use to describe such events is “awesome”.