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.

George W. Bush recently weighed in on the subject of excessive CEO pay, which we discussed here. The other day, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke mentioned that issue in the context of a growing income gap. An interesting piece by Albert R. Hunt in Sunday’s International Herald Tribune reinforces the view that CEO pay abuse is becoming a cause for more than just shareholder activists. Here is an excerpt:

There is hand-wringing in America over growing income inequality and excessive executive compensation.

The complaints are not emanating from populists on the left or ivory-tower academics. The Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, devoted an entire speech this month to income inequality, worrying that it threatened “the dynamism” of capitalism. And President George W. Bush has been a critic of greedy executives.

Since most American households are invested in the stock market, directly or indirectly, and all Americans are affected by what major corporations do or fail to do, and especially how they are led, they have a stake in the subject of CEO pay.

Abuse in executive remuneration has become a symbol —a litmus test, if you like— for what is wrong with American business. It doesn’t take a Sherlock Holmes to detect that excessive top pay has been present in nearly every corporate scandal in the past quarter-century and has become the signature affliction of directors who do not direct. When it is present, you are almost sure to find misdirected boards oblivious to the ethical minefield over which they are stumbling, frequent corporate underperformance and CEOs whose Pharaonic paydays so well insulate them that many have lost touch with the realities that shape corporate success.