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.

outrage 12.jpgSound judgment, whether inside the courtroom or out, is always the unswerving bodyguard that must accompany top judges. It may have been missing from Justice Thomas for some time.

When the United States Supreme Court ordered a stop to the recount in the 2000 presidential election in its momentous five to four decision, it handed George W. Bush the keys to the White House. It was an astonishing intervention in the democratic process unseen in the history of the nation. The second shoe in that controversial period dropped this week with the release of the autobiography of Justice Clarence Thomas, who was among the majority in Bush v. Gore. In his book, and in a related interview on 60 Minutes, the justice paints a picture that others, especially in the Democratic party in 1991, were out to get him in a way that makes Richard Nixon look like a model of moderation and tolerance. His hostility still is chilling in its depth and emotion.

Here is an excerpt from the 60 Minutes interview:

“This is a circus. It’s a national disgrace,” he said during the hearing. “It is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves and it is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order you will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate rather than hung from a tree.”

“Why did you use that language? Why a high-tech lynching?” Kroft asks.

“If someone just wantonly tries to destroy you, if somebody comes in and drags you out of your house and beats the hell out of you. What is it?” the justice replies.

“What do you want people to think about these allegations? What is important…,” Steve Kroft asks.

“I think most well-meaning people understand it for what it was. It was a weapon to destroy me, clear and simple,” Thomas says.

In his book, Thomas writes:

My worst fears had come to pass not in Georgia, but in Washington, D.C., where I was being pursued not by bigots in white robes, but by left-wing zealots draped in flowing sanctimony.

A fine line often separates bitterness from vendetta. Neither is acceptable in a sitting judge of America’s highest court. Why would he be so fixated on this event? Why does he cast his critics in robes of bigotry and tar the ideological left with hatred? What does he really gain be opening old wounds? One can only assume that something within his character makes it impossible for him to get over it. And that is disturbing, because it raises the reasonable apprehension that his personal views may well intrude into his judicial decisions. They may already have.

Americans should not have to worry that judicial deliberations will be tainted by personal agendas or ongoing grudges. They should not have to consider now whether a different Clarence Thomas might also have resulted in a different president in 2000. Did Justice Thomas view Al Gore as one of those “left-wing zealots”? We may never know, but the door to that question was willingly opened wide by the judge himself, not by his critics or voices from his past.

Sound judgment, whether inside the courtroom or out, is always the unswerving bodyguard that must accompany top judges. It would take a man of extraordinarily poor judgment to have made the remarks and reignited the controversy in the way that Clarence Thomas did, which is why the injudicious and ill-advised conduct of the 106th Associate Justice of the Supreme Court is our choice for the Outrage of the Week.