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.

If the boards of Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Bear Stearns, Société Générale, Countrywide and UBS were comprised entirely of Irish setters and beagles, it is doubtful that the subprime-plagued results of recent months could have been any worse.

Some of the senior staff of Finlay ON Governance have suggested that I might have given the wrong impression about Irish setters being rather high maintenance and posing some challenges during puppyhood. My comments were made while applauding the breakthrough of Uno, the first beagle to win the top spot in the 132-year history of the Westminster Dog Show.We’re not the only former beagle owners who were impressed with the win. CBS’s Face the Nation host, Bob Schieffer, also got a chuckle out of it while praising his previous three hounds.The connection between between good, reliable people who project a strong moral compass, like Bob Schieffer and my late grandfather, and the beagle breed, is interesting. Perhaps it’s an encouraging sign that more of the world is starting to appreciate the beagle, too.It is correctly pointed out by certain on site advisors to these pages, however, that Muldoon Dewitts Great One (Piper), Westminster’s Irish setter best in breed for 2008, is a cousin of my Springtime Treat (Holly, pictured above). They share some of the same illustrious ancestry. Holly is the great-granddaughter of Impresario, who was Best in Show, American and Canadian Champion, 1987. Piper is Impresario’s great-great grandson.Staff, who are renowned for their persistence especially during pre-set times for walking, further wish it to be noted that no Irish setter has been complicit in any of the subprime/credit shenanigans that have produced record losses in several of the world’s top banks and appear to be driving the economy into recession. Nor has any Irish setter, or any other dog for that matter, been part of a board which awarded tens of millions in compensation to CEOs who led their companies so deep into the red that they must now turn to the sovereign wealth funds of despotic regimes to bail them out. They conclude that if the boards of Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Bear Stearns, Société Générale, Countrywide and UBS were comprised entirely of Irish setters and beagles, it is doubtful that the subprime-plagued results of recent months could have been any worse.There may be some merit to this position. Most dogs don’t possess the qualities associated with the typical director. Canines seldom sleep during times of crisis and are generally curious about what’s happening around them. Most would never lose $7 billion and, if they did, would quickly know exactly where to retrieve it. The loyalty of a well-bred dog is always toward its master and family.The loyalty and good judgment of directors tends to be somewhat more problematic.