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.

The Dream Still Lives

martin-luther-king.jpgForty years ago today, the world lost a transformative -and for generations then and to come- inspiring figure. Although Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was killed on that April evening in Memphis long ago, his dream could not be. It is the birthright of every man and woman, regardless of the color of their skin or the religion they follow, to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect. And it is the obligation of each generation to ensure that principle is never forgotten. This was the teaching of a man who believed in change, but also in peace. Coincidentally, his teachings came at a time of another distant war that divided America, Vietnam, and during a period of economic unease and growing income disparity which Dr. King eloquently opposed.

A milestone of a very different kind was also observed recently: the 75th anniversary of the Reichstag’s passage on March 23, 1933 of the infamous Enabling Act, which set the stage for Hitler’s absolute grip on power. What is often overlooked is that he came to his autocratic perch through democratic means in free elections held months before.

For Germany, Hitler was a turning point toward a dark and evil future that would consume much of the world. For America, and for lands beyond not even born when he was alive, Dr. King served as a turning point toward a brighter path where men and women would be measured by the “content of their character.” One leader was driven by hatred and intolerance. The other was called by a devotion to peace and the cause of bringing people together so that we may all fulfill our God given potential.

What a difference leaders can make in the destinies of people and nations. The best of them summon hopes in us that we could never dream by ourselves. The best teach us that we can be greater than we ever thought and give us the courage to venture into the winds of injustice or strive to make a better home. And when they leave us, after the tears and memories have finally faded, they leave us still with the dream. And we go into the light of day to change the world, one generation after another, one dreamer at a time.