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.

28memorial-75.jpgI must confess I get a little emotional on those annual occasions in Canada and the United States when men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country are honored. I have had relatives on both sides of the border fight and die in battle over several generations. I lost a cousin who was the same age as me in the Vietnam war.

It has been said that war is the ultimate testimony to a failure of diplomacy and political leadership. Whether that is true, it is a time that never fails to produce remarkable heroes who renew the ideal of duty and sacrifice. They serve today in Iraq and Afghanistan, while their families share their burden at home. It is work that pays too little and often demands a cost that cannot begin to be measured, except perhaps in the tears of loved ones.

We hear a lot of talk in this 21st century Gilded era of record stock markets and wealth at the top about what great leaders CEOs are. We are told they are worth all the many millions they command and then some. It is not uncommon to see them paid a fortune even when they fail or to see them bail out with a golden parachute and leave shareholders in the lurch. Above all, is the idea that no CEO must be left behind.

Frankly, there are days when I believe a single company of men and women in the field of battle know more about leadership and sacrifice than all of the Fortune 500 CEOs combined. And to me, they are worth a hell of a lot more.