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.

Steve Jobs, long acclaimed as the farsighted head of Apple Computer, admitted to being somewhat myopic today when an internal investigation by the company’s board revealed that he was aware of manipulation of stock option pricing in order to artificially inflate their benefit to certain employees. He apologized for the oversight and said that, in hindsight, it should never have happened.

What is interesting is that the report came months after the first episodes of stock option manipulation by numerous other companies were raised. It is unlikely that such disclosures would have occurred in the absence of mounting pressure by regulators which has seen an initial trickle of companies who bent the rules turn into a flood. Such circumstances always raise the question in the minds of prudent investors and watchful stakeholders: What else are they not telling us that might be important to know?

When they are running companies behind the scene and not on a public platform, sometimes even legendry CEOs renowned for their vision operate in an ethical blindspot without giving adequate thought as to where their decisions are leading. Still, the uncharacteristic apology by Mr. Jobs, who is known also for his peevish imperiousness, is refreshing. Perhaps someday he can find it in his heart to apologize for all the scratches on my Nano, too.