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.

Former newspaper baron Conrad M. Black’s losing streak continues unarrested.

He lost control of his Hollinger companies and all his prized newspaper holdings. He lost what was left of the Argus group he essentially inherited.  He lost his criminal case, which was brought by the United States Department of Justice, and his appeal of the conviction taken to the 7th U.S. Circuit. He then lost in his appeal of that failed appeal. He lost recent skirmishes with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He lost his freedom and the benefits of being a Canadian citizen, the latter misplaced because of an obsession with becoming a titled gentleman in the tradition of Lord Beaverbrook and Lord Thompson. Instead of emulating their success, he followed the example of another British baron, Lord Kylsant of Carmarthen, who was likewise forced to trade the splendor of mansions and boardrooms for the confinement of a small prison cell after being convicted of a high profile corporate fraud. Mr. Black lost his Roles Royce Silver Cloud, owned, operated and paid for by a private company called Ravelston Corp. Ltd., the control of which Mr. Black also lost.  It served for many years as a convenient machine for milking the cash out of shareholder owned entities like Hollinger.  And like Mr. Black several fellow Ravelston directors, this company, too, was found guilty of fraud in U.S. federal court last year. Today, it teeters on bankruptcy.  He even lost one of the few venues in the United States still willing to publish his home-prison-office manufactured op-ed articles when the tiny New York Sun closed its doors last month. Mr. Black was an investor in the newspaper, which was resurrected in 2001. And despite his regular Canadian published odes of admiration for the Bush Administration and the Republican Party (he predicted John McCain would win the Presidency, showing that his political predictions, like his predictions about his own personal legal victory, can be shoved into the “lost” column.) He also lost in a bid to be included in Mr. Bush’s recent list of Presidential pardons and commutations.  Of all these considerable losses, humility, and a sense of proportion, do not appear to be included in the inventory.  As any basic insurance contract will instruct, previous possession is always a pre-condition to the establishment of a loss.

But the cruelest indignity of all must surely have been to lose out in the traditional Thanksgiving pardon, held in a moving ceremony on the White House grounds last Wednesday. A 45-pound turkey named Pumpkin received a “full and unconditional Presidential pardon.” A jailbird known as Prisoner Number 18330-424, who was once regularly addressed as Lord Black of Crossharbour by presidents, princes and prime ministers, did not.