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.

William F. Buckley, Jr. | 1925 – 2008

He was in many ways like the gifted founders of the American republic itself. A man of prodigious intellect and Jeffersonian wide talents, he saw in the state always something of a looming threat.

It may be a sign of growing wisdom or just advancing age, but I get a little sad to see the passing of icons -even the ones with whom I have often disagreed. Bill Buckley died today at his home in Connecticut. He was 82.

He was in many ways like the gifted founders of the American republic itself. A man of prodigious intellect and Jeffersonian wide talents, he saw in the state always something of a looming threat. He had little patience for the Great Society vision of more contemporary government. One thinks he would have been happiest if Alexander Hamilton had become president and the size of government remained pretty much constant from that point forward. There are days, when I can see some merit in that myself.

We were of different thoughts on many things, but at least on the issue of individual privacy and the need to keep a solid check on the intrusive powers of government, which are too often prone to be exercised at the whim of petty bureaucrats and small-minded officials, we shared similar views. He was a great believer in the free market, but not so much that he did not find current levels of CEO pay to be rather revolting and injurious to the continued health of modern capitalism. That made Bill Buckley a pretty wise fellow in my book, as did his determination to resist fleeing to that false island of intellectual illustriousness: the practice of law. His debating skills were remarkable, not just for the positions he took and his ability to advance them with unassailable logic, but for the flash of his eyes and a personality that gave them infectious energy. You have to be a pretty good act to cause teenagers and their parents to stop and watch your television show on Sunday afternoons. Millions did. It was always mandatory at our home.

And who can forget that now grainy and distant scene when Bill Buckley and Gore Vidal almost came to blows on ABC during coverage of the 1968 Democratic National Convention? I think my father found the spectacle of what he called two geniuses acting like morons to be one of the funniest things he had ever seen on television.

As one gets older, one finds uniqueness in the human spirit among the more memorable discoveries in life. Bill Buckley was a gifted author, sailor and musician. His sartorial abilities were somewhat less advanced, however. He often looked like he was auditioning for some kind of new reality show called “How Many Plaids and Checks Can You Wear?” He also had an ability to write novels, which he did on some 12 occasions. He relaxed by playing the harpsichord. How many people who have lived into the 21st century do you think you will ever hear that about?

William F. Buckley, Jr. was an original. There are too few of them at the best of times, which leaves the world more diminished when they are gone. Blackford Oakes will be going under cover for a while. I wonder if we will see his likes, or those of his alter ego, ever again.