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.

President Ford (photo by David Hume Kennerly Courtesy Gerald R. Ford Library)

Honoring Gerald R. Ford

The state funeral today for former President Gerald R. Ford was moving on so many levels. It was a superb celebration of a husband, father, naval officer, citizen and president. But nestled in with all the pomp and oratory was America’s remembrance that it is the person who rises from humble beginnings, who works hard for an education, answers duty’s call to defend freedom and serves his family and country with dignity that endures as one of the country’s most noble symbols.

This was a ceremony in which common men and woman saluted a common man amongst them. In that, it was an affirmation that America is fundamentally a society about the lives, abilities and accomplishments of ordinary people, not aristocracies or an anointed class. This is why governance, and the duty to hold accountable those entrusted with power, is so pivotal in America. It is why there has been a sense of revulsion over the excesses and scandals that have come to epitomize the boardrooms and political halls of the nation.

The ceremony honoring President Ford came, like the arrival of the man himself upon the nation’s highest office, at just the right time, when America and its friends needed to have their attention shone upon a quieter kind of leadership. Gerald Ford was among that unique generation of individuals who managed to change the world one day and change the diapers of their children the next. It was a commemoration of the attributes of the greatest generation that did so much to preserve freedom and rebuild a modern economy and for the most part still remained unassuming in the way they lived their lives. They were the heroes next door.

The passing of Gerry Ford and the great gathering of respect and admiration that came to mark his life today serves as a signal that something has been missing in the style and values of the movers and shakers of the post war generation of which I am a part, and a reminder that we could do a lot worse than strive to recapture the virtues our parents taught us.

It is, for me at least, a fitting note upon which to begin the work of a new year.