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.

We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a very happy holiday season. It has been a privilege to have had the loyal interest of so many readers from across the globe, and we have appreciated the thoughts and ideas a lot of you have shared.

This is a point when there is a natural tendency to reflect upon the year past and what has been accomplished. It is a time-consuming endeavor to prepare and write a regular column, and time-consuming for thoughtful individuals to read it when there is a boundless universe of commentaries and ideas in the blogosphere. Why do we bother? The reason always returns with the regularity of twinkling lights and chiming bells in December. It comes from the pen of someone who likely would have had his own blog if he had lived in the Internet era. The words of Charles Dickens in this respect are as fresh today as if they had been posted this morning for the first time.

Business! Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!

Have a safe holiday. Remember your good fortune and, if you can, please bring some comfort to those who have not been so lucky. Our thoughts and prayers are with them, along with the men and women, and their families, who are answering their country’s call for service in far off lands so that others may enjoy freedom and democracy and live in tolerance and peace. These are among the most precious gifts of this or any time.

Finlay ON Governance will return with its Annual Year End Awards for the high and low points in governance and leadership for 2007. You won’t want to miss it.