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.

Seven years for a high profile corporate fraud may not seem like much compared with the sentences handed out in the United States (see Jeffrey Skilling, Bernie Madoff et al.), but it is an eternity for Canada.  The country that produced Conrad Black and Garth Drabinsky has become notorious for its light touch when it comes to dealing with boardroom felons.  But something, perhaps that very fact, appeared to prompt Judge Mary Lou Benotto to take a different approach and hand out a sentence today that was toward the higher end of what was expected – including on these pages.   It is even more than the 76 months Conrad Black, Mr. Drabinsky’s good friend and former Livent board member, got for his corporate fraud adventure.

The seven years that elapsed between charges being laid against Mr. Drabinsky (2002) and his sentencing (2009) shows that Canadian justice can move painfully slowly.  But today also demonstrates that, in the end, reasonable justice – not the Bernie Madoff-type American overkill or the wet noodle approach so often handed out by Canada’s top securities regulator – can prevail and the time can be set to fit the crime.  Even for the rich and famous.

We had some harsh things to say about some of the wording in the judge’s verdict and the slow approach taken in the sentencing process.  But now it appears that Madame Justice Benotto has discharged her duties with fairness and with firmness.  The security of Canada’s capital markets at home and their reputation abroad are better for her efforts.