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 121.jpgYou would have needed an Olympic-style scorecard to keep track of all the changes made to Toyota’s current and potential recall programs.  What began as an issue involving – or so Toyota said – loose floor mats in some vehicles has morphed into a public relations nightmare caused by faulty gas pedals on Camrys, Avelons and other models, brake problems on Priuses, drive shaft hazards on Tacoma trucks and steering troubles on Corollas.

The company that consistently produced the best selling and most respected brands in the world showed itself to be the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.  Its Tokyo-based bosses have managed to antagonize the U.S. secretary of transportation, confuse millions of Toyota owners, force some drivers to tears on local news programs and become the predictable brunt of late night comedians. The North American operation of Toyota is clearly a branch plant of Japan, which is where key decisions are made and western style corporate governance is uncommon. The fellow the company trotted out in Japan who was wearing a surgical mask as he apologized for the mess was a fitting symbol for just how inept the company has been in handling this crisis.

It took dozens of years and millions of customer transactions to place Toyota in what has been a preeminent position in the global car industry.  But it takes a special kind of genius to allow all that to unravel and have the wheels fall off customer confidence in a matter of a few weeks.

Take a bow, Mr. Toyoda, your company has let millions of loyal customers down and in so doing has become our choice for the Outrage of the Week.