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.jpgMaher Arar, the Canadian citizen who was detained at a New York airport in 2002 by U.S. officials and sent off to Syria where he was tortured, testified before the United States Congress yesterday —by video conference. He could not appear in person because he is barred from entering the U.S. on the grounds of alleged terrorist links, despite having been cleared earlier this year of having any such connections by an exhaustive public inquiry in Canada. As we noted here some months ago, the Canadian government has already apologized to Mr. Arar for its role in the travesty and paid him some $10 million in restitution.

But in a remarkable turn of events yesterday, members of Congress from both parties apologized to Mr. Arar. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) told Mr. Arar that he had seen all the classified material upon which the U.S. administration still bases Mr. Arar’s terrorist status, and assured him:

…there is nothing there that justifies the campaign of vilification against your name … or justifies denying you entry into this country or characterizing you as a terrorist in any way.

Three cheers for the U.S. Congress. The Bush administration, on the other hand, not only refuses to relent in its campaign against Mr. Arar, but it has invoked provisions of national security so that Mr. Arar cannot even sue the U.S. government for its actions in detaining him and sending him off to be tortured.

True, Mr. Arar is just one of countless cases now where what I call the folly of Colossus, otherwise known as the most blundering and misguided administration in the history of U.S. foreign policy, has shattered the lives of ordinary citizens. There are millions living in agony still in Iraq and millions more who have fled as refugees. We may never know the details of their stories of suffering or the horrible consequences to be reaped by the young pople growing up without parents, without limbs and without hope. But we know Mr. Arars’ story. We know exactly what was done to him, the injustice exacted upon him, the torture and pain inflicted on him and the arrogant intransigence of an executive branch of government that continues to label him with the dreaded “T” word. And yet, in listening to this man’s testimony, one detects no hatred or desire for revenge on his part. He seems only to want to know why this was done to him by a country he still admires and a people he respects.

It is an outrage that should offend the conscience of fair-minded Americans everywhere.