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.


Freedom, in either its political or economic  appearance, has never been a lasting guest in the American home when it was merely taken for granted.

The celebration of Thanksgiving in America is rooted, more than anything, in the blessing of freedom and opportunity.  Those were the hallmarks that beckoned the first settlers to the far off shores of the new England.  They are  what is celebrated in the uniquely American way each year at this time.

Through evolution and revolution, titanic wars and epic financial upheavals, America has come to define ideas like a free market, individual choice and accountability among those who exercise power – whether in the economic arena or in the political.  In many ways, these principles have become a model for much of the world.   But their ascent has not been without cost.  And the need to defend these values has, time and again, come with a painful price tag.

As America contemplates its blessings this Thanksgiving, it is timely for it to consider whether it serves the cause of political freedom by propping up corrupt regimes, such as the one that rules Afghanistan today, where, right now, thousands of U.S., Canadian, British and other NATO military personnel are placing their lives on the line, and where so many have paid the ultimate price.  It is also wise to consider whether the idea of free market capitalism is well served by the constant enrichment of the regime in China, which promotes not a capitalism which extols individual rights and freedom of choice, but an authoritarian capitalism based on secrecy, tyranny and force.  This system was well illustrated earlier this month when President Barack Obama visited Beijing and where his “media conference” was not permitted to see a single question asked.  That is the way in China; it is not a model America looks good in adopting.

It is also time to ponder whether America is well-served by its financial system, which, after blundering into the worst crisis since the Great Depression and needing a head-spinning succession of taxpayer bailouts (with perhaps more to come), is rewarding itself with billions in bonuses while millions of Americans are losing their jobs, their homes and their dreams.  Then there is the Federal Reserve system, which appears more and more to view its role as pushing out trillions to keep Wall Street happy, while Main Street is left to cope under an almost unfathomable mountain of debt and a coming gale of inflation from which there will be no shelter.  Far from preserving the freedom of Americans in recent months, these institutions seem increasingly to have made them hostages to profligacy and misjudgment.

From the battered Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock and the courageous Rangers, Marines and service personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan to a struggling middle class and the steadily vanishing members of the Greatest Generation too often left in poverty and fear, Thanksgiving is a lunch that has never come free.  And freedom has never been a lasting guest in the American home when it was merely taken for granted.