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.

We like occasionally to take a break from the deafening cascade of crises and disasters punctuating daily life and turn to some other pursuits that make the world better.  Music features prominently among them.  The artists, composers and musicians who have come this way and left so much behind that has inspired and brought often indescribable joy deserve to be remembered.

Musician, arranger and composer Neal Hefti passed away last week. At a young age, he played the trumpet skillfully enough, but found his musical skills soon taking him into the world of arranging. He did key arrangements for Woody Herman and Count Basie. For Basie, he composed and arranged the classic Li’l Darlin’, a popular big band staple even today.

I think the 1960s were the best time for Hefti. He arranged and conducted all 12 cuts on Sinatra’s 1962 classic, Sinatra and Swingin’ Brass. That’s the album that includes the Johnny Rotella tune Nothing But the Best, which was for a long time a very hard number to find because it appeared as a later addition to that album and was not on the original recording. The best of Hefti’s own compositions were, to my ear at least, reserved for some of Neil Simon’s film work, especially The Odd Couple and Barefoot in the Park. Hefti’s score for How to Murder Your Wife is indelibly printed on my mind. The memory was heightened by the appearance of the sultry Virna Lisi, whom the credits say starred opposite Jack Lemmon, but I never really noticed.

The signature style of Hefti’s music is its strong melodies. Even the musically challenged never had any trouble humming one of Hefti’s movie themes as they left the theater. Hear the theme from Simon’s Barefoot in the Park and those two newlyweds come alive again. They are forever young. You become young again, too, just as you were when you first saw the movie. Listen to The Odd Couple theme, and it’s impossible not to see Felix shadowing the cigar-smoking Oscar with a can of Air Wick in their shared apartment. We have known some amusing people thanks to the talents of those with the imagination to create them and others who bring the screen to life with music.

Hefti’s ability to compose for big bands, for the movies and for television (he wrote the original Batman theme in 1966) defined the versatility of his talent, much as the same skills did for Henry Mancini, another giant of his time.

Neal Hefti was born in Nebraska, and died on Saturday at his home outside Los Angeles at the age of 85. In between, he gave the world the kind of joy that only those with a gift to understand the true potential that eight amazing basic notes arrayed in various octaves and for different durations -which I am reliably informed were conceived by angels consigned to earth to remind them of their heavenly home-  can provide.

We send condolences to Mr. Hefti’s family, but are happy to record enormous gratitude for the legacy he left behind.