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.

Some interesting developments in the life of this pharmaceutical giant that has come under a lot of criticism of late. There seems to be something lacking in the judgment department, as the following snapshot of the company reveals:

So concerned about reducing costs that it is cutting 10,000 jobs

–but not so concerned that it had any problem awarding former CEO Hank McKinnell a retirement package worth more than $213 million.

So concerned about eliminating unnecessary outlays that it is closing the Brooklyn plant that employs 600 people and dates back to the company’s beginnings in the 1800s

–but not so concerned that even though it is paying former CEO Hank McKinnell a pension of $6.6 million each year for the rest of his life, the board felt he should also be relieved of the burden of paying the cost of financial counseling and dental coverage for himself and his partner –for life.

I suppose it all comes down to the fact that the 10,000 who are on the way out didn’t have friends on the Pfizer board like Hank McKinnell did. Or, maybe if the 10,000 had done a better job in pushing up the company’s stock, they’d still be working there. Surely, it would not be fair to blame Mr. McKinnell for Pfizer’s languishing stock performance, which shrunk by 40 percent during his five year reign, since he is, after all, only one man.  And it would cause serious heartburn to Mr. McKinnell, and indeed upset the entire culture of the 21st century entitlement program of the North American boardroom, if Pfizer’s former CEO (who is also past chairman of the illustrious (who-needs-Sarbanes-Oxley? Business Roundtable and therefore a member in good standing of the cozy club) did not receive his full king’s ransom for failing to do what he was being paid to do, which included advancing the interests of Pfizer’s investors. No, no, no…for that, we must look to the slacking 10,000.

Some of my friends tell me CEO pay is simply a matter of the market working its wonder and is beyond the ability of ordinary mortals to understand or interfere with. If this is the magic of the market working at Pfizer, I’d hate to see its bad side.