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 foot soldiers and ordinary stakeholders of the political process, which is just about all of us, lost a stalwart champion when Tim Russert, NBC’s Washington Bureau Chief and moderator of Meet the Press, died suddenly on Friday. To me, he was one of those who believed that to make democracy a reality you needed politics that worked. He made it more interesting. But there was a larger purpose to his mission. Holding the powerful to account, believing that those who aspired to the public trust had a sacred duty to explain themselves, was what Tim Russert stood for. He did his job without being trivial or nasty, and without shouting and invective. He wanted to get to the real story and deliver the truth to the public. He loved what he did and you could tell that he saw it as a trust and a privilege. These attributes, already rare in today’s institutions of journalism (and elsewhere, for that matter) will become so much more diminished by his absence. I liked the fact that, with all his inside connections, Tim seemed very much in the corner of the average voter. Why don’t we have more politicians like that?

Then there was the dimension of the dutiful son to his aging father, Big Russ, as they called him. That was an inspiration to those of us who also honor our parents, and helped us remember why we do. His home town Buffalo Bills had no better fan; nor did “the Sisters” who guided his education.

The older I get, the more I see the men I have admired as figures who have lived their lives by the game of baseball in many respects. They practice and work hard. They compete fiercely. But they also play by the rules, and they never, never stop acting like gentlemen. The best among them are authentic individuals with something that is rather rare these days: a personality defined by a true generosity of spirit and a larger-than-life embrace of the world and the people in it. Every Sunday, I always got the impression Tim was on my team. It was a good feeling.

Tim will be operating at a much larger bureau now, and I suspect there are going to be some big changes. The boss in charge may be in for quite a grilling, given certain inconsistencies between what He said in the Old Testament versus His more recent positions. I can already see the graphics on the screen, complete with detailed scriptural passages and dates.

But Tim will do it with his customary grace and fairness. He taught that well to generations of journalists and viewers because he had been taught well himself. Which is why, if it’s Sunday, there will always be a moment to think about Tim.