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.

Of all the indignities Conrad Black has had to endure, much of them admittedly at his own hands, none has been more symbolic than to go from being lauded as a British baron to being dismissed as a piece of “baggage” by the company he once headed.

In our view, it has always been something of a race to see what would happen first: Mr. Black moving into his prison lodgings or the Sun-Times Media Group, successor to Hollinger International and owner of the Chicago Sun-Times, throwing in the towel.

Tired of trying to hold on by its fingernails (having paid out more than $100 million in legal costs, much of it connected with the criminal defence of Conrad Black et al, has not helped), Sun-Times Media has decided to put all its assets on the block. It appears that changing the name from Hollinger International to Sun-Times Media did not have the hoped for result. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the overarching concern is a transaction that would free the company from the “baggage” of convicted former owner Conrad Black. The lord of luggage? Mr. Black once paraphrased Mme. Cornuel, who proclaimed “no man is ever a hero to his valet.” How much sharper the sting when he not only has to carry his own valise into prison, but has become it in the eyes of former employees.

We have expressed some doubt about the management abilities of Mr. Black’s successors at the Hollinger companies, whatever they might be called. They have made some colossally bad decisions, not the least of which was to be a bottomless ATM for Mr. Black and his cronies in dealing with their legal problems. The company itself also continues to face substantial litigation costs, as both a plaintiff and a defendant. No new owner will want to inherit that mess.

The board of Sun-Times Media has appointed Gordon Paris and Graham Savage, among other directors, to oversee the sale. We doubt that including members of the old guard, who have presided over Hollinger’s post-Black disintegration and are carrying more than a few suitcases themselves in the eyes of shareholders will help. But the move is about par for a company that has been very good at compensating its insiders while its investors have continued to see the value of their stock drift further downward toward oblivion. The stock, which in 2004 was trading around $20, currently trades at $1.47, well off its 52-week high of $6.94.