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.


How grand and ineffably uplifting are these larger-than-life comets that streak across our lives and illuminate our journeys from obstacles and oppression to happiness and hope.  When they pass, and the light of their life dims, we find ourselves in a much better place than we otherwise would have thought even possible. Whether it was Ted Kennedy’s destiny to be such a figure or whether he earned it by dint of hard work, good nature and, yes, more than his share of errors in judgment, the tributes that flow to his name today demonstrate that he was one of the more remarkable figures of our time.

It is perhaps never terribly surprising so see  men and women who are blessed with name, wealth and family connections follow a path in pursuit of more wealth.  What is surprising is when such people put their career and professional treasure in the service of the less blessed, the poor and the people who may not even have known a parent.  In his quest for universal heath care, education reform and a better minimum wage for the working forgotten, Senator Kennedy was an uncommon champion.

In the 1970s, I had an interest in a survey research company based in Toronto.  The company decided to poll university students across Canada for their views on the most popular leaders at the time. Ted Kennedy topped the poll.  We were delighted after the results were published to receive a call from the Senator’s Washington office asking for a copy.  We hoped it gave him a chuckle to know that he touched so many youthful minds even beyond the American border.

He was a political touchstone for at least one generation.  It will be interesting to see who for the next emerges in that role.  Someone will.  For in the cause of great achievement and noble deeds the words of Ted Kennedy will always illuminate and set the course:

The work goes on.  The cause endures.  The hope still lives.  And the dream shall never die.